Sen. Mike Shower introduced an election reform measure aimed, he says, at beefing up election security in Alaska in a nonpartisan fashion, but already it is seen by some as a voter-suppression tool.
The Wasilla Republican’s proposal, Senate Bill 39, could affect municipalities’ ability to automatically send ballots to all registered voters, but it would not hamper them in sending ballots to voters who ask for them. Among other things, the bill also would repeal the 2016 voter-adopted initiative that automatically registers Permanent Fund dividend applicants to vote.
Is Shower’s proposed legislation necessary? Is Alaska’s voter security up to snuff?
As of today, the state Division of Elections shows 599,704 voters registered to go to the polls. That is more people registered to vote than there are voters.
Some of those registered are ineligible to vote or have moved away or died, but remain on the rolls. It takes some time and a complicated federally mandated process to purge the voter rolls, so there appear to be more registered than actually are.
That is a problem that presents ample opportunities for mischief. Shower is onto something in trying to make the system more secure, but it likely will face some tough sledding in the Legislature.
Very tough sledding.