A new report, released by a group of Anchorage voters who paid for a partial recount of April's botched municipal election, calls into question several of the processes employed by election workers both on election night and during a recount afterwards. It was presented in front of the Anchorage Assembly today, by Anchorage voters Linda Kellen Biegel, Melissa Green, Carolyn Ramsey and others.
The report also says the city violated its own election code, known as Title 28, when election workers handed out photocopied or sample ballots in place of official ones when polling places ran dry.
Another example cited in the report is a Title 28 requirements that "all ballots shall be consecutively numbered in series." While city ballots are numbered on the packets they originally come in, once the ballots are detached from the "stub" of the packet, they are no longer associated with a serial number.
In a recount process that followed the election, the report showed evidence of election workers making errors when copying over votes from a sample ballot onto an official ballot before sending it through a vote counting machine.
Assembly chair Ernie Hall called the report "sobering."
"This blows my mind," said assemblywoman Harriet Drummond at the Friday worksession in which the election report was presented.
"This is part of why I voted 'no' twice in recertifying this election, because I knew this stuff was going on, and I cannot believe that this passed muster at all."
Hall has already fired Jacqueline Duke, the deputy city clerk in charge of the election, and he accepted the resignation of her boss, city clerk Barbara Gruenstein.
"I think the community knows from the actions that have already occured, we're taking this very seriously, we're not taking this lightly," Hall told the presenting group. "This will be a blemish on this community for a long time."
Hall said many of the recommendations made in the report will likely be addressed in new election laws or regulations provided to election workers.
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