On Oct. 4, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly will hold a public hearing to decide on whether to ban voting machines and mandate hand count tabulation of all borough elections.

Introduced on Sept. 27, the ordinance requires a hand count of all ballots at the precinct level on election night. It also stipulates that poll watchers must be allowed to observe the tabulation process.

While counting absentee and questioned ballots cannot occur on election night due to the fact that these ballots are often not returned by election day, the ordinance mandates that all these ballots must ultimately be hand counted with observers allowed to watch.

If approved, the changes would take effect after the Nov. 8 election in order to avoid a rush of potential last-minute complications in the lead up to election day.

For voters with disabilities, or those who cannot read or write, the ordinance allows for voting equipment to help these residents cast their ballot. All other ballots, however, must be hand tabulated.

The ordinance also states that poll watchers must be able to “clearly see and hear all activities taken to hand count the ballots.” This includes the ability to hear discussions among counting officials regarding how a vote should count. Additionally, the ordinance lets poll watchers observe all early vote count locations.

If passed, all references to “machines, tapes and memory cards” will be removed from borough code, as they will become obsolete terms.


— Click here to read a detailed explanation of the key changes the ordinance would bring about.

— Click here to read the proposed ordinance.

— Click here to contact members of the Mat-Su Borough Assembly.

— Click here for information on how to testify at the Oct. 4 meeting.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Mat-Su looks to ban vote machines, mandate hand counts, empower poll watchers

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.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    I guess they won’t have to have a recount then. Smart move. Kill two birds with one passed ordnance.

  • James says:

    We need this down in KPB.

  • Lobo says:

    If passed, this will be a great step towards insuring honesty in the election processes… But, why “after” the November elections ?… This has been a contentious issue for quite some time now, and there has been plenty of time to address it… This doesn’t require a bill consisting of thousands of pages, similar to the messes in Washington D.C., which contains all kinds of hidden amendments

  • Diana H. Graf says:

    Hope it goes across the state but great news for Mat-su!!

    • Proud Alaskan says:

      Agree it needs to be state wide.
      If not our state-Alaska will be a loser blue state soon. Scary to think about.

  • MJD says:

    I hope Anchorage one day has legitimate elections again. Certainly doomed otherwise.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Better late than never. Reading this paragraph, “…..the changes would take effect after the Nov. 8 election in order to avoid a rush of potential last-minute complications in the lead up to election day…..” made me think about the fact that complications caused by last minute changes did not seem to be an issue for voting after 2020 – just ask Lisa! Lol

  • Whidbey Thedog says:

    Elections are won or lost because of the candidates and their messages – not because of voting machines. Go ahead and ban them if it makes you feel any better, but in the end doing so will neither change the results, nor increase the Conservative’s chances of winning elections. Insinuating fraud is the last resort of losers.

    • Steve says:

      Whidbey, you a naive. Yes, banning voting machine will make a lot of living voters feel much better. But then, fraudulent elections probably tickle your fancy.

    • Anon says:

      Actually committing voter fraud is the actions of a criminal and the demoncratics win that title.

  • Seven says:

    yes the cheating and manipulation has to stop. verified ID, paper ballots, All parties observed for counting and verification, a forensic count system if you will, this IS the only way to a honest transparent vote.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    When we accomplish the dominion demolition, we need to invite dunleavy to a forum and give him a public shaming for standing around with his hands in his pockets while his administration screwed all of us!

  • Andy says:

    Another blow to tapioca brains and his administration, good!

  • Teresa says:

    a Great step in the right direction! All machines should not be allowed.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    What’s so wrong with going to the polls on voting day. In person with ID yes photo ID