More

    Bill aimed at securing Alaska’s election integrity gaining traction

    By AlaskaWatchman.com

    A bill aimed at addressing concerns about ballot tampering in Alaska has generated considerable interest in the first weeks of the legislative session. Senate Bill 39, introduced by Sen. Mike Shower (R-Wasilla) has already had several hearing with the next scheduled for Feb. 25 in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

    The bill looks to ensure that all mail-in ballots are carefully tracked from the day they are sent out until the moment they are ultimately destroyed after the election.

    “Chain of custody is the foundation of ballot integrity,” Shower said in a statement about his bill. “Once you lose chain of custody, you lose ballot integrity.”

    Shower said he supports mail-in voting, but only with careful tracking, including the post-election destruction of ballots once they have all been accounted for by the Division of Elections.

    “Current practice allows ballots to be destroyed in precinct without central accounting,” Showers observed. “SB 39 requires the director to establish in regulation, best practices for chain of custody protocols, and provides affected parties reasonable notice for ballot handling observation opportunities.”

    His bill also establishes an election offence hotline number that allows Alaskans to report voting irregularities or concerns. The number would be publicly posted at polling places and election privacy envelopes. Likewise, the bill requires election workers to immediately notify the elections director of any irregularities and then allows for an audit of ballots in precinct, immediately after the election.

    Furthermore, the measure prohibits absentee voting via facsimile, which is less secure than mail-in ballots. The bill also aims to secure the state’s voter rolls by repealing automatic voter registration when Alaskans sign up for their PFDs. Shower’s bill requires Alaskans to proactively request to be registered to vote.

    The wide-ranging bill also explicitly states that it is a crime to knowingly collect a ballot from another voter unless they are a caretaker or family member of the voter or engaged in official duties as an election official, postal worker or private commercial delivery service. It clarifies that it is a crime to “intentionally” open or tamper with a sealed ballot certificate and envelope without express authorization from the Division of Elections director.

    “My intent is – through rigorous debate and the committee process – to listen to all sides and make voting, including mail in voting, more secure, so Alaskans can be confident in their election system,” Shower stated.

    TAKING ACTION

    • SB 39, which deals with vote security and regulations, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Feb. 25 at 3:30 p.m. Testimony is by invitation only at this hearing.
    • Click here to read the bill.
    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

    Share this article

    Related articles

    9 Comments

    1. Why not take a look at Florida’s voting system they have in place and implement those same practices in Alaska? Florida is the nations 3rd most populous state and yet they finished counting with no funny business 9pm est. Governor De Santis strictly enforce a deadline to finish counting ballot and also had a very good absentee voting system set in place to where in order to vote in person after requesting an absentee ballot you must first give up the ballot you were mailed. If you were found to have voted twice then you can be criminally charged. Let’s get rid of mail in voting period. Only mail in should be absentee.

    2. Kfnh, you are 100% correct. Solutions to voter fraud/electioneering practices exist, all we have to do is adopt the stringent Florida rules.

    3. I wish they would take this a couple steps further, require a fingerprint on each mail in ballot and if it’s not possible to get a fingerprint due to arthritis or other hand issues, an ID with a doctor signing off off on the ballot envelope, or the postmaster.
      I understand not everybody’s fingerprints are registered but if you have to put your fingerprint on there and it scans the same print twice then you can go to jail.

    4. Below is the letter I sent the senate committee on this:
      I read that you are asking for public feedback on mail-in voting. I appreciate that you are taking a lead on trying to fix an obviously broken system. However, I do not believe that mail-in voting has a place in any election with very limited exceptions for medically confined individuals, military, and Alaskans attending college out-of-state. If people are not able to vote due to temporarily being away from home, the state has an established process in place for in-person absentee voting. I believe the best solution for any future emergencies like COVID should be a change to the state constitution that elections are delayed until being able to be conducted in-person.

      I am aware of the arguments of disenfranchisement of certain populations but if this is at the expense of disenfranchising everyone and fraudulent elections, is that a valid argument? Pandering to special interests by allowing a mail-in voting mechanism is destined to continuing fraud and high costs to maintain.

      I watched all of the November 2020 election state hearings, read most of the lawsuits, and read many of the affidavits. The obvious fraud that occurred in this election underscores why any voting that doesn’t happen in person with verified identification will ensure that we never again have a fair election.

      The state of Alaska needs to address several major areas to ensure we have fair elections:

      *. Stop automatic voter registration of Permanent Fund recipients. Everyone is well aware that many PFD recipients are often not permanent residents with many being summer ‘residents’ who return to their home states for the majority of the year. My very small community is having our local elections heavily influenced by these people – changing our community and leaving the permanent residents to live with the consequences. The recent Judicial Watch report spotlighting Alaska (https://www.judicialwatch.org/in-the-news/1-8-mill-ghost-voters/) is likely highly influenced by the PFD enrollment.
      * Question: Is the state doing any due diligence to confirm that these people are voting in Alaska and in their home state?
      *. Stop using voting machines – hand counting paper ballots is the only truly secure method that we currently have available.
      *. Require in-person voting with photo ID and signature requirements.
      *. Challenge the proposition 2 vote. Stack rank voting is destined to fully disenfranchise all voters by creating a convoluted system that is easily gamed by nefarious actors. The state’s original challenge to the proposition was clearly correct and the Alaska Supreme Court ruling was an unbelievable interpretation.
      *. Question: Why isn’t the state appealing the decision to SCOTUS?
      *. Question: If legal routes are not tenable, can we put a recall for this on the next ballot?
      There are obviously other voting issues like ballot harvesting and dark money funding that need to be also addressed but in the short term, we need to clean up the voter rolls, require in-person voting, and get rid of proposition 2. Creating new mail-in processes that will never be secure and will only increase costs over time is not the answer.

    5. We don’t need mail in balloting! Get off your butt and go to your polling place and vote, that’s the least you can do as an American.

      • EXACTLY! Why do we always default to ‘fixing’ something that shouldn’t exist? It’s so frustrating to always have that as a solution and is why government is so broken.

    6. As to “mail in voting”. Is there any other location besides Anchorage that does this? It is up to the people in Anchorage to repeal this. Sadly, like the idiocy that Anchorage is doing on the CCP Virus, they have the “right to be stupid”, so long as the voters are just as stupid and allow. I don’t think, please correct if I’m wrong but Anchorage can only use “mail in voting” for muni elections Would I like the State legislature to stop any future mail in voting, sure! But can it, legally without a Constitutional Amendment? The “mail in voting” we have legally for General Elections and Primaries are absentee ballots. I agree that needs tightening up as well. Say an interview on OANN the other day where the interviewee was advocating a thumbprint required on the secret envelope which could be checked more accurately by computer. Interesting idea but a lot of issues with it to work.

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Donate

    Alaska Watchman relies on the generous support of our readers. All donations go directly to supporting and expanding our news coverage. Please consider becoming a regular supporter.

    Select a Donation Option (USD)

    Enter Donation Amount (USD)

    Donate

    $
    Personal Info

    Donation Total: $100.00

    Stay Informed

    Receive breaking stories and analysis from the Alaska Watchman directly to your inbox for free.

    No spam ever. Guaranteed.

    Latest articles

    News tips