Photo and Story by Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Governor Sean Parnell and Treadwell promised to complete a review of last year’s election when they signed the certification documents in December. Treadwell said the state Department of Law, the division of elections and others assisted in the review. Many of the proposed changes were prompted by Alaska’s thorny Senate race last November.
After the results of the Senate race were challenged, the courts recommended that the state clarify its election law regarding write in ballots.
Under the state statute, voter intent can be determined by an election official, and the new law would ensure that law is consistent with court rulings. Treadwell said both a Senate and House bill deal with that language.
The lieutenant governor said two federal laws are being taken into account while those changes are being considered. They are the Help America Vote Act and the Military Overseas Voting Empowerment Act.
Other changes would move the deadline for declaring write in candidacy to 21 days before the election, another would change the primary date.
Many of the changes are aimed at the training of and the work done by poll workers. Treadwell said a University of Alaska study done some years ago on ballot security issues was helpful in the review, and the University will be asked to look at security issues as they are today.
Treadwell emphasized that the proposed statue changes would have not made any difference in the outcome of Alaska’s Senate race.
Treadwell said the federal Department of Justice has to approve any changes in the state’s election statute.
Photo: Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell speaks about suggested changes to the state’s election law after the release of the state’s 2010 election review on Friday, April 1.
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