Vince Beltrami shouldn’t even be on the ballot?

Vince Beltrami shows off his July 21 letter qualifying him for the Nov. 8 ballot, as signed by Josie Bahnke, Director of the Division of Elections. Photo from his campaign web site.


When Vince Beltrami filed signatures to run as an independent candidate, he came up short. He had 70 verified signatures. He needed 170.

But the Division of Elections certified Beltrami anyway, ignoring state law:

AS 15.25.170. Required Number of Signatures For District-Wide Office.

“Petitions for the nomination of candidates for the office of state senator or state representative shall be signed by qualified voters of the house or senate district in which the proposed nominee desires to be a candidate (equal in number to at least one percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the proposed nominee’s respective house or senate district in the preceding general election.) A nominating petition may not contain less than 50 signatures for any district.”

The 2014 election for Senate District N had approximately 17,000 votes cast. The 1 percent needed is 170 qualified signatures, not 70 and certainly not 50.

Beltrami is running against Sen. Cathy Giessel, who was deep in her work as a lawmaker when Beltrami filed for office. She may not have noticed that her challenger came up with too few signatures, and because the Legislature was in session, she couldn’t work on campaign matters. She cannot check his filings nor have her staff check them while in session.

No one else thought to look into the matter until David Nees, a retired math teacher who is an parttime aide to Rep. Liz Vazquez, started poking around.

The Division of Elections has had a bad year for performance. It had to have one of the legislative races, District 40, decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, and numerous election irregularities have cast doubt on the Division’s competency or commitment to fairness.

Division of Elections will not release a copy of the signatures on Beltrami’s petition, but the photo above shows that the division sent Beltrami a letter on July 21 confirming his spot on the General Election ballot.