By JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON / THE FEDERALIST
Next month, Alaskans will vote in a special primary election for the state’s single congressional seat, left vacant by the death of Republican Rep. Don Young in March. Young, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the U.S. House, was Alaska’s sole congressman for 49 years, so the election to replace him is in some ways an historic event for the state.
But it’s also historic in another way: it will be Alaska’s first ever statewide mail-in primary election. That is, there will be no in-person voting at all. Every single voter on the state’s bloated and error-riddled voter rolls was automatically mailed a blank ballot.
What’s more, there will be no verification requirements for these mail-in ballots. Voters will simply need to fill out their ballot and have a witness observe them sign the envelope. The state’s Division of Election has explicitly said it will not verify the authenticity of the signatures on the ballots.
Normally, to vote by mail in Alaska you have to submit an absentee ballot application ahead of time, which includes a signature that can be used to verify the signature on the completed ballot. But not for this special mail-in election, which is already a chaotic and confusing mess, with 48 names on the primary ballot and a new ranked-choice voting process in place that will send the top four vote-getters from the primary to the in-person general special election in August (which is on the same day as the regular statewide primary election for the November midterms).
By any measure, Alaska’s special election is a mess. But why should the rest of the country care? Because Alaska’s insane statewide mail-in election is a template for how the left wants to run elections nationwide. Democrats and left-wing activists would love nothing more than to hold elections entirely by mail with as few safeguards in place to prevent ballot fraud.
Indeed, Alaska presents a unique and in some ways ideal test case for the left. For one thing, Alaska’s voter rolls are a mess. As of 2020, voter registration was 118 percent of the estimated vote age population, meaning there were more registered voters than actual people who could vote (this problem is getting worse in Alaska; in 2018 it was only 103 percent). Making matters worse is a 2016 Alaska law that automatically registers residents to vote when they submit an application for the state’s Permanent Fund dividend.