Commission Recommends Certifying Election

The Anchorage Election Commission just released their report on the April 3rd Municipal election. They are asking the Assembly to adopt their report and certify the election. But they did find some problems and made several recommendations. KSKA’s Daysha Eaton explains.
The Municipal Election Commission released their report in a public meeting at City Hall in Anchorage late Wednesday. In the report, they discussed information gathered from voters through email and interviews.   Election Commission Chair Gwen Matthew categorized the problems reported by voters:
“Long line, not able to vote or wait, sample or photocopied ballots deterred them, didn’t try to vote because of people telling them they were no more ballots at the precinct, not eligible to vote, technical problems with the Acuvote machine, not being on the precinct register.”
The Commission reported taking information from 182 people. But the total number of voters they were unable to verify was low, 33 voters. The Commission found there were enough ballots for 70 percent of voters; however, certain ballot types ran out and voting machine are calibrated to receive only the ballots for that precinct. In addition, the commission found that an insufficient number of ballots were distributed to polling places. The commission made several recommendations. Matthew.
“One, that when ballots are ordered a formula of 70 percent of registered voters per precinct be employed, not merely 70 percent overall. Two, that the municipal clerk takes a more active role in strategic planning, supervising ballot ordering, training of staff and general oversight. Three, that restructuring of office personnel occur to include hiring of additional election specific personnel, such as coordinator and recruiter.”
The Commission made 9 recommendation in all, including that ballot banks be established at major distribution hubs, that the phone bank at election central be operated by knowledgeable personnel … and that the city be required to distribute to all households a pamphlet detailing general voting information. That said, Matthew explained that all indications are that the ballot shortages were the result of ‘unintended error on the part of the clerk’s office.
“While this created chaos during the final hours of the Mayoral Election. The problem did not meet the standards of malconduct, fraud or reckless indifference on the part of anyone involved. the commission does not recommend a new election or an independent investigation.”
Their final recommendation was for the Assembly to certify the April 3rd election. The Assembly is set to consider certification at a special meeting on Thursday May 3rd.
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Daysha Eaton is the News Director at KBBI in Homer. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.