Election's Unscanned Ballot Count Begins
A total of 1,800 ballots brought a very interested crowd
ANCHORAGE - It's been over a week since what some are calling the worst election in the city's history.
There were ballot shortages, voter disenfranchisement and even some calls for a new election. Now the process of counting votes has finally begun. Thursday was round one of the unorthodox ballots being counted.
Up first for inspection were the unscanned ballots. A total of 1,800 ballots brought in a very interested crowd.
Teams of two were finally able to tally them. “We keep them by precinct, we keep them separate, we also keep them separate from the votes that were scanned on election night,” said Municipal Clerk Barbara Gruenstein.
“There sure is a high number of unscanned ballots,” said Anchorage Assemblyman Paul Honeman. He said it's more than just about who wins or loses, because he claims that during the April 3 election, with ballot shortages, voters were disenfranchised.
According to Honeman, a remedy is needed to get back the public's trust. “At the end of the day we can ask a lot of questions, we'll certainly get a lot of answers, but how do we build... reinstate the confidence?” asked Honeman.
The ACLU said faith can be restored if the city uses it resources to find out exactly what went wrong. “Determining not based on guess, not based on supposition, not based on calls to a hotline, not based on emails but through actual, factual investigation,” said Jeffrey Mittman, the executive director of the ACLU. “How many voters didn't get a right to vote?”
Although the ACLU said it is glad the counting has started, Mittman's still pushing for an independent investigator to give a fair assessment about why some voters were left in the cold. “Through no fault of their own, only through the fault of the municipality, through a bungled election were they denied their right,” said Mittman.
“For us to just write that off and say, 'oh that doesn't matter, we don't need to investigate,' would be the wrong thing to do.”
Roughly 13,000 questioned or absentee ballots will be counted at City Hall on Tuesday. The Anchorage Assembly is holding a special work session at the Loussac Library Friday at noon to discuss options like calling for an independent investigator or even calling for a new election.