Assembly Members Call Election Special Counsel Request "Premature"
ACLU of Alaska says counsel necessary to preserve integrity of process
ANCHORAGE – Assembly Chairwoman Debbie Ossiander said Friday she’s not ready to appoint a special counsel to review the results of this week’s municipal election.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alaska requested the independent counsel after voters reported being unable to cast a card Tuesday night because of ballot shortages citywide. The Municipal Clerk’s office reported more than 6,000 questioned ballots cast across Anchorage’s 121 precincts, with nearly 1,500 cast when voters were forced to migrate precincts to find one with enough ballots.
The numbers have prompted the Municipal Attorney’s office to investigate possible voter disenfranchisement, and Ossiander said the office would primarily examine its impact on election results. Until the office had grasped the scope of disenfranchisement, Ossiander said a special counsel appointment would be “premature.”
But Jeffrey Mittman said his organization had already been contacted by at least 120 registered Anchorage voters unable to vote Tuesday because of lack of ballots.
“At this point, we now do have credible information that many were going to their original polling place and were told there ‘We’ve run out of original ballots, go to polling location two.'”
Ultimately, he said they never found a poll in time.
It’s a situation that demands an independent examination, he said, but not because of who won or lost the hotly contested election.
“We know this election went astray,” Mittman said. “Whether or not it effected the results is a completely different question, and we have to know it will never happen again.”
When even one person is denied their right to vote, he said everyone loses.