By THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer says the August primary election, despite complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will be close to business-as-usual – but with a few modifications.
We especially agree with his stated concerns about unsecured ballots if the primary election or later general election were switched to a mail-in affair.
August primary ballots will include primary races for seats in the Alaska House of Representatives, several Alaska Senate districts, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, but no ballot questions.
Meyer says Alaskans can vote from home if they wish via absentee ballots and that system allows the Division of Elections to know which of two ballots should be sent to a voter.
An all-mail election in Alaska’s closed and party-run primary system would necessitate sending out hundreds of thousands of ballots, with most voters receiving two ballots, Meyer says.
“So, we figure there’s about 550,000 total voters and about 70% of them would be eligible for either ballot,” Meyer told the Juneau Empire. “Of course, we don’t know which ballot Alaskans want. That’s potentially 450,000 Alaskans that we would have to send two ballots to, which is about 900,000 ballots.”
A typical primary election has only about 30% of registered voters casting ballots, he says.
“So that’s 600,000 unsecured ballots that are either sitting in a post office, sitting on the kitchen table or in a garbage can,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “That’s very concerning to us to have that many unsecured ballots.”
The opportunity and temptation for voting mischief would be too much for some to bear and that sort of thing would do lasting damage to the public trust. Do not bother telling us it would not happen. You could ask Anchorage Republicrat Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, whose primary win a few years ago was supported, it turns out, by dead people.
Meyer was right in using caution. When it comes to voting and protecting our voting system, caution is a plus.