ANCHORAGE – Lawmakers who represent rural communities in the Alaska House of Representatives sent a letter this week to Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who oversees Alaska’s elections, highlighting concerns from residents who fear their votes will not get counted in the 2020 general election.
Specifically, legislators cited three troubling instances that demand a prompt resolution by the Division of Elections:
- Approximately 130 people residing in the traditional Yup’ik village of Mertarvik were denied the right to vote in the primary because the Division of Elections was unaware they’d been living in a new location for the better part of a year.
- The same report also found that election supplies were never delivered to Newtok, so only 17 of approximately 339 residents were able to vote.
- Clark’s Point was also unable to hold a recent municipal election after the state failed to supply the community with poll workers, which is standard practice in many rural communities.
“We cannot dismiss the fact that this election cycle has been plagued with mishaps and confusion that have produced rejected ballots, lost votes and ultimately, will result in many voices in far flung communities that will go unheard,” lawmakers wrote in the October 13 letter. “It is critical we learn in a timely manner how the Division of Elections plans to ensure that every registered voter in Alaska gets to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming general election.”
Signers of the October 13 letter include Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) and Reps. Neal Foster (D-Nome), Sara Hannan (D-Juneau), Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka), John Lincoln (I-Kotzebue), Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), Andi Story (D-Juneau), Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak), and Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel).