Senate bill revamping Alaska voting laws stumbles backward

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Democrat Sen. Scott Kawasaki’s bill, aimed at changing voting laws in Alaska, stalled on the Senate floor on Monday and was referred back to the Rules Committee. The legislation offered significant alterations to the state’s current electoral process, including a new “ballot curing” requirement and relaxation of signature verification requirements.

The bill, Senate Bill 138, had even more for Alaskans, with extensive language assistance requirements and mandating the Division of Elections implement a ballot tracking system, a feature intended to allow voters to monitor the journey of their ballots post-voting. The bill would also have made it the responsibility of the state to cover postage costs for mailed-in ballots.

The bill has stricter residency requirements, and offers absentee voters the opportunity to correct errors on their ballots. Presently, voters only become aware of errors in their absentee ballots after the election is certified, an issue highlighted in the 2022 special primary election, when an estimated 7,500 ballots were rejected, translating to a rejection rate of 4.55%.

Despite the highest-ever voter turnout in Alaska’s history during the 2020 elections, with over 360,000 Alaskans casting their vote, Kawasaki points out that approximately 173,000 eligible and registered Alaskans did not participate.

The bill requires the Division of Elections to start counting absentee ballots at least seven days before the election day, and begin releasing vote tallies at 8 pm on election day.

It also sought to replace the witness signature requirement with a signature verification system and required the Division of Elections to cure signature discrepancies, similar to how Anchorage does its verification system.

Even if it were to pass both houses and receive the governor’s approval next year, the changes are unlikely to be implemented before the 2024 election.

Similar legislation in the House, sponsored by Democrat majority leader Cal Schrage, also appears to be faltering in committee.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Can Alaska’s elections be made any more vulnerable to corruption than they already are?
    .
    Apparently, yes.
    .
    Now Scotty’s on a quest to bury the system even further under God-knows how many more non-English languages, install a fun new “ballot tracking system” so voters can follow their ballots right into the quicksand of ranked-choice voting, and best of all, a signature-verification system (staffed by certified forensic graphologists, we’re sure) to add even more opacity to an already murky plot.
    .
    Scotty believes the masses should believe their government when it tells them 173,000 eligible and registered Alaskans did not vote.
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    Given the hell your party’s put us through for the last two years, Scotty, why should we believe anything a Democrat says about elections? System’s not FUBAR’d to your taste, needs more tweaking?
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    For the last several years, Scotty, election interference has been a top Democrat priority, confirmed by the Durham report. Now you, a Democrat, want to do what to the wreckage that is Alaska’s election system?
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    Might be a good time, Scotty, to beam up before the rebels figure out how to regain control of their election system, no?

  2. This all reads like the proverbial smoke and mirrors. Adding more complication rather than address real problems. Of course chaos and confusion are one of the tools of the left leaning. Elections need to go back to one day in person, and add in picture ID requirements. Absentee voting should be only as requested by a person who will actually be absent. Special assistance provided for those with disability. Also clean up our voter rolls, get rid of the ERIC system and the rigged choice voting.

  3. I think the reason absentee ballots are counted after election day is that it precludes a person voting both ways. I suppose there are ways to deny a vote to one who has already submitted a vote by mail, but there is room for error. And we are all fallible, no?

  4. Has there ever been a proposal to change voting laws brought forward by a democrat that wasn’t all about making it easier to inject ballots. That and the willingness and fortitude of Dunleavy to clean up the existing voter rolls. Zero confidence in Anchorage system, now state elections need to pounce on the same shortcomings.
    Stop the mass voting registration via PFD. AND ID / in person voting with mail-in for those that request it only.

    • I agree with you on every detail, MJD.

      And it is instructive that the Democrats — who are ALWAYS about expanding the power of the state over the individual — are continually trying to go after the apathetic, the lazy, the least informed and the chronic non-voters, because they know that appealing to the lowest levels of society, in terms of both involvement and of intelligence, only favors them. How long before some Demoncrat proposes a mandatory voting law, as they already have in Australia? I predict we will hear such proposals this year, or next year at the latest. Mark my words!

    • True that M.J.D.! : ) Just for the record, spoken as a life-long Alaskan who plans to remain and a resident of Anchorage since 1964 (who probably plans to remain in Anchorage also).

    • My Anchorage ballot was rejected due to a signature mismatch in the recent election. It was as close as any other signature I’ve wrote and was left to the whim of a worker to decide it wasn’t good enough.

      Luckily, I was able to cure it and my vote was accepted, and tallied.

      I find it hard to believe you think Anchorage’s elections make it “easier to inject ballots”, unless you don’t know what in the hell you are talking about. That entire process was a pain-in-the-rear, complete with witness signatures, ID verification, and sworn statements — all because the signature was a little off to the worker.

      Get a grip.

      • When was the last time your ballot was rejected because of a signature mismatch when you were voting in person and showing a photo ID?
        Asking for a friend.

        • I was out of town. Some people can’t afford to be chained to their cities, full-time, 24/7. Some of us have to work odd jobs that require travel.

          Tell that to your friend.

          • So, an absentee ballot. OK.
            And, the question still remains. When was the last time you had a ballot rejected when you voted in person?

  5. This garbage in the Senate MUST stop. They just CAN’T have everything their way and causing delays in everything. this and their playing with the budget. Voting laws that are illegal needs an immediate changes to REPRESENT the WHOLE voting community. Not just their party. They got to realize they cannot hold our constitutional RIGHTS to their whims.

  6. Lets get back to voting the way it was meant to be conducted. One vote, per person, with I.D., on ELECTION DAY. If you cannot vote in person on election day, then apply for an absentee ballot. These are not difficult or unreasonable requirements.

  7. I watched one of Senator Shower’s hearings on election reform last year, and one of the things that really stood out was how Scott Kawasaki took umbrage with several items that did work towards actually cleaning the election system mess up. His phone was an active part of his participation, and whoever it was that was in contact with him was clearly influencing his behavior and testimony. He is just a willing pawn.

  8. How about we start with something simple like ending cheat by mail voting. That will solve most of this nonsense.

  9. Things that are valuable should be secured and protected.
    And, elections are valuable.
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    Yet, politicians seem to think that elections, ballots, votes, whatever should not be secured in any way. Instead, they continually attempt to change the voting laws to make elections less secure. Photo ID? Nope, cannot allow that because… something. Signature verification? Why push it, I am sure no one would try to vote illegally or anything like that. 100% mail in? How could that be a problem in any way? Ballot harvesting is perfectly OK, right…
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    If you have something of value, you protect it, you secure it. You lock you doors when you go out, you lock your car when you run errands. You protect your personal information. Important = security and protection.
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    Any politician that wants to remove those protections from voting/elections is not doing it for the good of the people.

  10. One individual, with verified and presented identification.

    Creates.

    One vote, to support one candidate or issue.

    Within.

    One day to present said vote, in person, as that verified individual, within established voting hours and locations.

    Rare exception.

    One option to vote absentee, with proof that said voter cannot vote within the above circumstances.

    Created problem solved.

    Common sense prevails.

    Honest Elections ensues.

    Clear winners prevail, no matter of what stripe.

  11. Until ranked choice voting, mass mailing of ballots and electronic voting machines are eliminated, there will be no honest elections in Alaska.

    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aNdceVMyrM

  12. If you think the election fraud in Alaska is bad now, just wait until they pass a Bill like this one. Tell Dunleavy to show some leadership for a change and get hold of Alaska’s elections. Stop allowing the travesty of justice that placed Peltola in office. We want secure elections now! Also, tell him to pull the State out of the ERIC system. At least 8 States got smart and pulled out of the corrupt system. What is Dunleavy waiting for?

Comments are closed.