After contentious debate, the Palmer City Council narrowly approved the spending of $3,000 in federal CARES Act funds to conduct a feasibility study on how to create a mail-in voting system similar to what Anchorage implemented in 2018. The 4-3 vote occurred May 11.

Councilman Steve Carrington expressed concern that the so-called “feasibility study” was written more like a done deal. Mayor Edna DeVries concurred.

Palmer Mayor Edna DeVries

“I agree with you sir. I don’t think is a very objective feasibility study,” she said.

Councilman Richard Best was part of the conservative block opposing the study.

“We already have vote by mail and other means of voting, and in person voting,” he noted. “Is the intent of this study to eliminate in person voting?”

Councilwoman Julie Berberich, who favors the study, noted that there were no concrete recommendations at this point.

“Due to the way the world has change, what we consider to be our new normal now, people are looking for different ways to be able to be a part of the process,” she said. “It is an opportunity for us to look into modernizing how we perform our elections.”

Best noted that the city already allows mail-in voting for anyone who requests a ballot, for any reason.

“I don’t know what more this study would do,” he said.

Newly elected Councilman Brian Daniels chimed in, saying there is a difference between the current absentee vote-by-mail and the mail-in voting proposed by the feasibility study.

(Hopefully) Palmer City Councilman Brian Daniels

“It’s misleading to say that we have mail-in voting,” Daniels charged.

Mayor DeVries pressed Daniels to clarify how the proposed change would differ from the current system in which voters can request that a ballot be sent to them by mail, and they can then return the ballot via mail.

“I suppose, according the proposal, it sounds like we would mail out ballots to voters and then it would be up to them – but basically they don’t have to request an absentee ballot,” Daniels replied.

“So, you’re talking about something similar to Anchorage?” the mayor said.

“Yes,” said Daniels.

“Okay. I just want to make that clear on the record,” DeVries replied.

At that point Councilman Best voiced concern that Anchorage elections have proven problematic in mailing out ballots to people who don’t even request them.

“Some households during this last election in Anchorage, received seven and eight ballots for people who don’t even live in state any longer,” he said. “There is not a true scrubbing of the voter rolls.”

He also worried about bad actors who could abuse a broad mail out system.

“I’m not secure in the idea that there isn’t people being disingenuous with some of the ballots that are coming back in those situations,” he said. “When you go to the post office and you see a boat load of them in the garbage can, it’s an uneasy feeling that there is opportunity for somebody to – maybe as a joke or whatnot to fill it out and send it in.”

Best added that he is “all for” the current system in Palmer where a registered voter proactively requests a ballot to be sent to them “for whatever reason – personal choice, medical whatever that situation is. We already have that process.”

Mayor DeVries concurred.

“I think we have more than adequate ways for people to vote,” she said. “I think the mail out ballots is a big fraud thing just waiting to happen.”

Daniels tried to assuage concern by pointing out that they were only voting to conduct a feasibility study.

“If somebody thinks that isn’t the first step in the next step, they are pretty naïve,” DeVries quipped.

In the end the liberal block of the council won the day with Julie Berberich, Brian Daniels, Jill Valerius and Deputy Mayor Sabrena Combs all voting in favor of the study. Councilmembers Steve Carrington, Richard Best and Mayor DeVries were opposed.


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Sharply divided Palmer City Council approves study on Anchorage-style mail-in voting

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Kfinh says:

    Councilwoman Julie Berberich Said … “Due to the way the world has change, what we consider to be our new normal now, people are looking for different ways to be able to CHEAT!”she said. “It is an opportunity for us to look into modernizing how we STEAL our elections.” ….,,There you go councilwoman I fixed your statement for you. You’re welcome. Now go ahead and send me that $3000 y’all’s willing to spend on this so called “study” also if the city council need advice on “EQUITY” training go ahead and hit me up I’ll give a discounted price! A bunch of lying folks. This is how Anchorage got screwed over. Elected officials making rules to keep themselves in power without letting the voters vote in the changes. Though, I don’t trust voters as much seeing how Alaskans voted in prop. 2 for state elections.

    • Nicole says:

      Agreed! This is about how to STEAL an election. Voters don’t trust sending their vote by mail for the same reason they don’t send cash in the mail.

      • tdriskill says:

        Especially when I received three mail in vote ballots for the November elections, one I never asked for a mail in ballot, two when I tried to inquire about it there was no answers to be had and three it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt mail in ballots have caused voter fraud and chaos across our great nation!!
        No thank-you to the fraud and chaos!!

  • Vonda Sanders says:

    This is ridiculous! What are you trying to find more ways to cheat!?

  • Michael C Coons says:

    Wish I had been more diligent in reading the agenda. We must be ready to come in mass like we did yesterday when this comes up after the so called “study”

  • Michael C Coons says:

    I heard last night that now Sebrina and what I call, Boy Toy can now be recalled. Thus there is a coming effort to recall all 4 of the socialists on the Palmer City Council. Great!

  • Neil A DeWitt says:

    Now there is a hugh mistake! At least this is the first time I only received one ballot. Most I’ve gotten is 6. DONT DO IT! Think about what your doing!

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Of course Danials, Combs and Berberich want ballots mailed out to every voter. What better way to ‘enhance’ an election? They do not want any control or accountability as the sloppier and looser the system the better the chance of getting another leftist into office. Mail in voting is a disaster everywhere it has been instituted and, ironically (?), it seems everywhere it is instituted shifts to the the left in political representation….. why is that do you wonder?
    Lastly, how in the world does a such a study fall under CARES fund use? Seems a tad sketchy.

  • Jeffrey Bousquet says:

    This is the Democratic Party’s version of voter suppression. I can no longer vote in person at my local poling place that was one hundred yards from my house. Now I have to fill out the ballet, buy a stamp, find a mailbox and wonder if it made it in.

  • Jen says:

    Palmer conservatives seem to be being too nice. your liberal city council member colleagues are inching their way into destroying your community while you kindly go along before you face what Anchorage conservatives are facing moving up if this city goes anymore left.

  • Mongo Love Candy says:

    Bull Dykes and Beta Males…………………..those are your future.

  • Larry Wood says:

    Always they whine that they are doing their damage to benefit this group or that. I cannot remember in 67 years here one time when anyone complained about not being able to get an absentee ballot or other accommodation to vote. The cheat will be in. BTW, DANIELS, BERBERICH, VALERIUS and COMBS are BLM supporters, they are Marxists. They are not acting in the best interest of Palmer, Alaska, they need to be recalled–look at the picture of Daniels. Is this guy a joke, or what?

  • Theresa says:

    Don’t do it, Palmer.

    Anchorage needs to go back to one day of voting where there is simple witness verification of the voter’s identity and eligibility to vote.

    Each eligible voter then has the chance to cast one vote.

    Voting by mail does not require witness verification of identity, just a signature.

    If you vote in person on Election Day (or days, as we had this month!), you have witness verification of your identity, and you’re asked to sign the envelope you put your ballot in.

    With mail in voting, there’s no witness verification of the voter’s identity AND, the people who process your ballot can easily check and record who you voted for.

    The possibility of fraud is much less when each eligible voter is verified by a witness and he casts one vote.

    • Heather Riggelsen says:

      Can you please run for Council? We need more informed, well spoken individuals such as yourself in that position.

  • Dave maxwell says:

    Time to recall and send the unrelenting message to out liberal friends
    We’re here and though we are loving and welcoming, we are not naive. Recall now

  • Stephanie says:

    After spending many hours as an Election Observer, I can tell you the Municipality of Anchorage has taken the simple task of running an election and complicated it beyond belief. The process required to count the votes is painfully slow, requires an unfathomable number of steps, and is much more expensive than the traditional system. Furthermore, many people cast their ballots incorrectly or forget required steps. In my humble opinion, voting should be in-person on Election Day with an ID. Absentee by request only. It’s ridiculous that we have to wait almost two weeks for election results! Mail in voting is inefficient and leaves room for far too many errors.

  • Michael S Totten says:

    More money wasted studying stuff that they already know about.

  • Fern Bunwhacker says:

    Jeez, what’s going on with Palmer? Yeah that city council needs to be recalled.