Jamilia George has been signing her signature the same way for decades. But for the first time in her life as a voter, her signature has been rejected — by the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s office.
Anchorage voters in District 4, a wide swath of Midtown, are being asked whether they want to recall Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel. Thirty-six thousand ballots were mailed to voters in the district on Oct. 4 and they are due by 8 pm Oct. 26. Over 6,000 have already been voted and returned to the Election Office, run by the Municipal Clerk.
Jamilia George’s ballot was one of those. But George said it was rejected “because my signature doesn’t match my signature in their data base.”
George has voted in every election and has “never ever had a problem with my signature and they will not tell me what my signature looks like in their data base.” She is an attorney, and she is appalled that this could happen to voters.
“They request that if I have recently changed my signature to show them my former signature and what my signature looks like now. Are they serious? Sadly, yes they are,” she said.
George said that notification of the rejection of her ballot came in the form of an envelope from the Municipality, but even though it was stamped with the word “Urgent,” it looked like junk mail to her and she almost threw it away. Lots of junk mail comes to addresses with similar compelling statements. She doesn’t know why she decided to open it, but is glad she did.
Now, she wants others to be on the lookout for their ballot rejection letter, because the envelope itself doesn’t state that a ballot was rejected.
In the the municipal election in April, 2021 , the same thing happened to several voters in Anchorage. A few of them also found their ballot rejected a second time after the Clerk refused to accept their signature after they “cured” their ballots.
The problem for voters who follow the instructions of the Municipal Clerk, return the proper signed paperwork in time, is that if their signature is rejected a second time, they won’t have time to fix it before the end of the voting period. The second rejection letter comes too late. The only way to ensure your signature isn’t rejected a second time is to gather your identification and go to the Election Office itself and demand your right to vote.
The Election Office is located at 619 E. Ship Creek Avenue, Door D, Anchorage, AK 99501. The Municipal Clerk’s Office is at 632 West 6th Ave., Suite 250, Anchorage, AK 99501.
Read about how Anchorage voters were robbed of their right to vote by a system that didn’t let them cure their ballots in April:
Voters in District 4 have until Oct. 26 to drop their ballots in drop boxes at these locations:
- City Hall, 632 W 6th Ave.
- Dimond High School, 2909 West 88th Ave.
- Election Center, 619 E Ship Creek Ave.
- Loussac Library, 3600 Denali St.
- Planning and Development Center (MOA Permit Center), 4700 Elmore Rd.
- Service High School, 5577 Abbott Rd.
- UAA Alaska Airlines Center, 3550 Providence Dr.
The Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office has not well publicized that there is one in-person voting center. It is at the Loussac Library, 3600 Denali Street at these hours:
Weekdays, October 18 – October 25, 9 am – 6 pm
Saturday, October 23, 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday, October 24, Noon – 5 pm
Election Day, October 26, 7 am – 8 pm
However, those who want to vote in person will be using the same mail-in ballot, which requires a signature that will be then accepted or rejected, and there’s very little time and no assurances that a second signature will be accepted, as voters discovered in April. And they will be directed to go outside and drop the ballot into the drop box.
Has your signature on your ballot been rejected by the Municipal Clerk? Send a note to suzannedowning at protonmail dot com .