File this story under “No good deed goes unpunished.”
The Division of Elections decided to mail out absentee ballot applications to all senior citizen Alaska voters this year. That act of charity has drawn a “not good enough” lawsuit from Anchorage attorney Scott Kendall, who was Gov. Bill Walker’s chief of staff.
Aided by an Outside liberal group called Equal Citizens, Kendall says it’s discriminatory to not mail out absentee ballot applications to all voters.
At present, the Division of Election is mailing absentee ballot applications to older Alaskans because of their increased risk for serious complications from the COVID-19 super virus.
The primary election early voting season begins in 16 days. The primary election ends on Aug. 18, when polls will be open across Alaska for in-person voting.
Two individuals stepped up to be the “harmed” plaintiffs: Democrat Camille Nelson of Kotzebue and Democrat Aleija Stover of Anchorage. They’re joined by the Disability Law Center of Alaska, Native Peoples Action Community Fund, and the Alaska Public Interest Research Group.
Nelson is a healthy young adult who recently organized a “I can’t breathe” march to protest the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd at the hands of police. Stover is also a healthy young adult involved with student government at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Kendall is the left-leaning lawyer who is spearheading the effort to recall the governor of Alaska.
He is also the lead lawyer for a massive election voter initiative that voters will be asked to decide on in November: Alaskans for Better Elections, which would bring jungle primaries, the destruction of political parties, and ranked choice voting. Both Democrats and Republicans have opposed the ballot measure.
Alaska is a “no excuse” voting state, where anyone can request to receive an absentee ballot by mail; they do not need to give a reason. In 2020, voters can request an absentee ballot online for the first tine.
But Kendall and his plaintiffs say that there are too many barriers, and the state should just mail absentee ballot applications to everyone.
The costly plan would help achieve another goal that liberal groups are pushing — universal vote by mail.
Equal Citizens, which is funding the lawsuit, was founded by Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig. His group was involved in trying to get electors around the country to become “faithless electors” and not vote for President Donald Trump. The group’s effort fed into what became the most number of “faithless electors” to ever cast votes in a presidential election — seven. Prior to 2016, there had not been more than one faithless elector in a presidential election since 1948.
The plan went awry when more electors chose to be faithless against Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump; five flipped on Clinton and two on Trump.
Lessig represented some of the rogue electors, but this month the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld laws that punish or replace Electoral College delegates who refuse to cast their votes for a presidential candidate that they had pledged to support.
The group has also challenged the legality of the Electoral College.
Equal Citizens’ board members include Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners and the pollster for Joe Biden’s 2008 bid for president. Lake was the pollster for former Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and takes credit for helping Begich become “the first Senate candidate in Alaska to oust the incumbent in 50 years.” (The state was but 55 years old when Mark Begich and the Department of Justice’s and FBI’s corruption ensured that Sen. Ted Stevens would be retired from office.)
Other board members are Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration; Charles Kolb, founder of DisruptDC; Lawrence Lessig; and law professor Richard Painter.