Nearly three weeks after a city election fiasco, the Anchorage Election Commission is encouraging voters who had problems at the polls or were unable to vote, to share their experience.
On Saturday, the commission was available to meet with individuals who wanted to explain the problems they faced on Election Day.
A second meeting is scheduled for Monday, from 4 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at City Hall for those who could not make the Saturday time.
According to commission chair Gwen Mathew, the goal is to get a better idea of how many people were unable to vote because of a ballot shortage.
"Whether they're registered voters, whether they were able to cast their vote, what problems they encountered, what went on in the different precincts- we are gathering information from both the voters as well as the precinct workers to get a larger, more comprehensive picture of what actually went on," said Mathew.
The commission has received nearly 300 emails from individuals, but wanted to give voters a chance to tell their story in person.
"The last thing we want is for people to feel disenfranchised from the Municipality of Anchorage, feeling that their vote doesn't count. Their vote does count," said commission member Jim Stephens.
As of early afternoon Saturday, the turnout at the meeting was low, but residents continued to trickle in and find a table, sitting across from a member of the commission. The one-on-one interviews were surprising for some who showed up expecting to find a public forum. The set-up was disappointing for Anchorage resident Dana Klein who said each election mishap should be public information.
"Nobody on either side can look at this election and say, for sure, that these are the results that should've been. That's not right," said Klein.
Anchorage voter Toni Jones told a commission member about how the machine at her precinct would not accept her ballot. She said she did not come to complain, but to report. She is confident her vote was counted and said as a voter, it was also her job to be part of the solution.
"We all are responsible for taking an active role in our community," said Jones. "Our responsibility doesn't end when we go in and vote.That's just the beginning."
Assembly Chair Ernie Hall said he expects to announce next week the name of the independent investigator that will look into the election process. He will also announce a third party to review municipal attorney Dennis Wheeler's opinion on the legal standards for certifying an election.
The Election Commission will present its report to the assembly during a special meeting on May 3. Voters who wish to share their story but cannot make either of the meetings with the Election Commission are urged to email their story to firstname.lastname@example.org.