The election commission has started reviewing question ballots from Tuesday’s municipal election in Anchorage. But they won’t be counting absentees until next week.
In a small room tucked into a corner on the first floor of city hall, stacks of yellow ballots line long cafeteria style tables. The Election commission is tallying up number envelopes containing question ballots, cast throughout Anchorage’s 120 precincts during Tuesday’s municipal election.
Press Release 04042013 Several observers are watching because of a close race in the West Anchorage district, where Assembly Chair Ernie Hall was challenged by write-in candidate
Nick Moe. Moe got in the race just a couple of weeks before the election because he didn’t like the way Hall handled a controversial ordinance that stripped municipal workers unions of power. Hall led the assembly when they voted to shut down public testimony before everyone had a chance to speak on the ordinance. Hall had just 93 votes more than Moe at the end of election night Tuesday. Alyce Hanley is Co-Chair of the Election Commission. She is leading the review of the question ballots from the precincts on election day.
“When they went to vote they were not on the register. So now we need to look them up in the computer to make sure they are a registered voter. So that’s what we’re gong to be doing now. And just make sure that everything that’s needed is on here. We can tell by the birth date, by the drivers license, by the name — this person is registered to vote. Should count.”
There may be additional question ballots from the absentee by mail and the absentee in person voting, which will be counted once the official public canvas begins next Thursday. Amanda Moser is the Deputy Clerk of Elections. She says between question ballots and absentee ballots there are more than 5,000 ballots to be reviewed citywide.
“The total number of question ballots cast on election at precincts on election day is 1,017. There are 4,837 ballots issued throughout the city, absentee.”
Barbara Jones is the Clerk for the Municipality of Anchorage. She says, her office is following the rules very carefully.
“The code says that we don’t count any ballots until after the public session of canvas. So the public session of canvas is on Thursday, April 11th at 6 o’clock and then we’ll be counting the question and absentee ballots after that. And then after that we would be looking at any write-in candidates or races.”
As Jones explains, there is a write-in policy. It works like this:
“We do have a write-in procedure in our office. The way we handle write-ins is we will look at the write-ins if they exceed the votes of one of the candidates that’s already in the race.”
Michael Dunsmore says he believes that will happen. He is a volunteer with the ‘Write In Nick Moe Campaign.’ He says, it’s not scientific, but they believe Moe has the votes to win.
“Our rough estimate is that there will be, between absentee and question ballots maybe about 15-hundred more votes to be cast in that district. In order for Nick Moe to win he only has to pull about 55 percent of that vote. We strongly believe that the question ballots and the absentee in-persons will weigh heavily in our favor. The people who are politically active and politically motivated are the ones who are going to be using these alternative means of voting.”
The official public canvas, which begins Thursday, April 11th at 6pm, is a public meeting. That’s when election officials will present the number of question and absentee ballots they plan to reject and how many will count. Voters whose question ballots the commission plans to reject will be notified by mail. At the canvas, voters can challenge their question ballot if it’s being rejected.
- Press Release from the Municipal Clerk’s Office: What’s Next? PDF (April 4, 2013)