Thanks to an ordinance passed last year, which eliminated all voting machines from all Mat-Su Borough local elections, the upcoming election will be hand-counted only.

While opponents of hand-count-only elections often claim that they require too many volunteers to pull off, Mat-Su residents have proven more than willing to step up as poll workers, precinct chairmen, ballot counters and canvass board members.

“We are good to go at this point,” a pleased borough staffer noted on Oct. 19. “We are all filled up at this point, and we have a few extras on call for standby.”

The sheer number of volunteers who came forward was a pleasant surprise, given challenges in past years to fill all roles.

The Nov. 7 election will be the first under the new rules prohibiting machine ballot counters. The law 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. Additionally, all absentee and questioned ballots must be hand counted with observers allowed to watch.

Under the new policy, poll watchers must also 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.


Election day is Nov. 7, but voters may choose to vote early – starting Oct. 23 – at one of the following early/absentee in-person voting locations.

MAT-SU DIVISION OF ELECTIONS (1700 E. Bogard Road, Building B, Suite 102, Wasilla) – This is open from Oct. 23 to Nov. 6, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will also be open on two Saturdays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All ballot types are available at this location.

MAT-SU BOROUGH ADMINISTRATION BUILDING (350 E. Dahlia Avenue, Palmer) – This is open from Oct. 23 to Nov. 6, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All ballot types are available at this location.

ABSENTEE IN-PERSON VOTING LOCATIONS (Houston City Hall and the Talkeetna and Trapper Creek Libraries) – These locations are open from Oct. 23 through Nov. 6 during normal business hours.

For more information about the upcoming election, click here.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Mat-Su Borough flooded with volunteers for new hand-count-only election

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.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    This is good to hear! Thank you Mat-Su Valley People for getting involved!

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Did you testify to the assembly against the dominion machines? I did. Your welcome.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Thank you for being involved Dave.

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        Your welcome. Did you?

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        You never did answer my question about how to find information about Dunleavy’s trip. Again Dave, you are fighting with your own side and causing yourself a lot of stress.

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        Thank you. I have been outspoken among friends and have talked to my assembly rep(s) but testifying in public terrifies me. Better you than me. I am useless in that corner.

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        Must read Alaska Foh. You in fact haven’t answered. Did you testify publicly? Red team vs blue team? I don’t consider myself on a team. Your assuming of stress is unwarranted and doesn’t deserve a response. Kummbya

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        Sounds a lot like dunleavy. Hiding when he’s needed!

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Dave, I like what Jan Halper said in that recent interview that I shared a link for. She pointed out that when people have an idea of what they would like to do and what they would like others to do, they have expectations – they write their story. Why am I expected to follow your storyline and answer to you what actions I have taken? You are the one that tooted your horn about testifying – I did not say anything about it. I said thank you to you for your actions. That is YOUR STORY – leave it at that Dave. I am thankful for what you do. Do not assume that I sit around on the wayside just because I do not publicly toot my horn about how I am involved. I am in this fight just as much as you are. Once again, I am asking you to please stop fighting people on your own side. Your actions are causing a negative effect and that is not what we need right now.

  • Chocolate says:

    How do we do this in Anchorage?

  • Kathy L. says:

    Thanks for the effort you are making to protect my vote!

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      That’s nice. We’re saturated with information and what someone said! Meaningless barrages equates to the summation of the book of Ecclesiastes. They do not activate anything! Let your brain digest the prophetic message of Jeremiah chapter 22 and pay close attention to the expectations to exercise justice and righteousness! It goes on to say or you and your land will become desolate!
      This is a hell of a lot bigger than my story! Kummbya

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    It’s can now be reasonable to assume that you didn’t

  • jon says:

    I do hope the hand counters will be from both parties.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Me too! We should have fair representation in our community. Poll watchers should represent political parties also!

    • Keith says:

      Poll workers if you want to count you can, it’s not a party issue.