A group of Anchorage voters has formally requested a recount of ballots associated with the city's troubled April 3 election.
The group -- consisting of 10 Anchorage voters, and headed by Anchorage attorney Hal Gazaway -- is asking that all ballots cast in 15 different precincts be recounted by hand.
The recount application, filed late Wednesday afternoon with the city clerk's office, says the results provided by the optical scan vote counting machines used on election night can't be trusted.
The recount application cites reports of "at least one" malfunctioning vote counting machine.
It also cites testimony from a poll worker that a security seal for a vote counting machine's memory card appeared to be "cut." The group asking for the recount also said it was concerned with Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke's instructions to poll workers that they "ignore and/or replace security seals protecting the memory cards that were 'broken in transport.'"
The application also cites a large discrepancy between a Dittman poll conducted a week before the election and the apparent voting results. Dittman's poll showed that 41 percent of respondents said they'd be voting against a controversial gay rights initiative on the ballot, while actual results show that 58 percent of Anchorage voters turned it down.
More than half of Anchorage's polling precincts ran out of ballots on election night, forcing some voters to drive to other polling places in order to vote. Some voters have filed affidavits with the ACLU claiming they ran out of time in the last-minute scramble, with the polls closing before they got a chance to vote.
In the recount application, the group also asks for several election-related documents, including all precinct rosters and voter index lists. It also asks for any documentation of "complaints or requests for assistance" relating to election night problems.
According to assemblywoman Elvi Gray-Jackson, the 10-member group has paid the mandated deposit of $1500 for the recount application -- $100 for each precinct to be recounted.
Under city code, if the results of a race or proposition change by more than 4 percent, or if the winner of a race or proposition changes, the city must refund the deposit.
On Thursday, Gazaway said the 10-member group organized through two petitions that had been circulating around regarding the results of the April 3 election, and they decided to make a recount attempt.
"Everybody pitched in 100, 150 bucks," Gazaway said. "Having votes count, I think is a very fundamental principle to democracy."
Gazaway said he feels that the city should have taken steps to conduct its own recount.
Assembly chair Ernie Hall was on a flight late Wednesday night, and could not be reached for comment, but past assembly chair Debbie Ossiander said the assembly may have to file an investigatory response to the recount application, which could affect its scheduled certification of the election on Thursday at 5 p.m.
A press release issued late Wednesday night by the 10 voters who signed the recount application stated "how this will affect the scheduled vote to certify the election tomorrow is uncertain," saying Anchorage's election law might make it impossible to certify the election until the recount is completed.
The press release identified the 10 Anchorage voters on the recount application as Hal Gazaway, Barbara Gazaway, Joseph McKinnon, Zabra Kennedy, Dana Klein, Wendy Isbell, Steven McCoy, Melissa Green, Kelly Walters and Linda Kellen Biegel.
Contact Jason Lamb