Despite concerns about the security and integrity of mail-in only voting, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly will consider a resolution at its June 2 meeting to halt in-person voting for the 2020 regular election this fall. Assembly Members Dan Mayfield and Tam Boeve are sponsoring the resolution.
Citing worry about a resurgence of COVID-19, crowded polling stations and protection of election workers, the resolution notes that the State Legislature has allowed the State Division of Elections to conduct a mail-in election during the pandemic. The state, however, has rejected this idea for the primary election, and Lieut. Gov. Kevin Meyer believes a traditional in-person vote can take place safely across Alaska.
According to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, Alaska was among the worst states in terms of bloated voter registration rolls.
Meyer, whose duties include overseeing elections, said a mail-in only process presents significant challenges in terms of voter fraud. Speaking about the upcoming primaries, Meyer said the state would need to mail out hundreds of thousands of ballots to Alaskans, the vast majority of which will never be cast. This could leave up to 600,000 unsecured ballots scattered across post offices, kitchen tables and garbage cans during the primary season.
“That is very concerning to have so many unsecured ballots,” he warned on May 15.
Traditional in-person voting allows Alaskans who make a mistake on their ballot to receive another and it provides immediate help for those who do not speak English, Meyer said.
Opponents of a mail-in only approach emphasize that Alaskans who wish to vote by mail have always had this option anyway. According to state law any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot for any reason whatsoever. Voters simply submit a copy of their current driver’s license, state ID, passport, birth certificate, hunting and fishing license or current and valid photo ID with an application. The Mat-Su proposal does not clarify whether voters will need to request ballots individually.
A letter sent to the Mat-Su Assembly by former Assembly candidate Brian Endle urges the body to reject mail-in only voting.
“If Walmart and Home Depot are open, you have no excuse to pass this,” said Endle, who lost a close race to current Assembly Member Tim Hale. “The Lt. Governor did not buy the lie that we need this.”
Endle added that “Vote-by-mail invites fraud, and our votes will become meaningless when those that wish to steal them have many more opportunities to do so.”
At issue is fear that “ballot harvesting” will be abused. This is the process which allows political volunteers and others to collect ballots and return them en masse to polling locations on election day.
Despite assurances that widespread mail-in voting is secure, the data simply does not bear this out.
A new detailed report on mail-in deficiencies was released by Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) revealing that 28.3 million mail-in ballots have gone missing from 2012 to 2018 in national elections.
Additionally, a recent article by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, notes that states which use mail ballots “become increasingly reliant on voter registration rolls that are highly inaccurate. If a state is not staying on top of registrants who die or move elsewhere, they are likely sending ballots to outdated addresses by default.”
According to an August report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation, Alaska was among the worst states in terms of bloated voter registration rolls. The foundation found that at least 244 counties in 28 states had inflated voter rolls. Alaska had an unbelievable 113% percent voter registration.
The Mat-Su Assembly meeting begins at 6 p.m. on June 2. Those who wish to attend in person may do so. Other options include offering written testimony to email@example.com. Testimony via phone is available by calling 833-949-2500. Those who call in will be able to hear the meeting while waiting to testify. A chime will sound when it is time for each speaker to testify. Those who wish to observe the meeting remotely can do so via live stream video at Matanuska.Legistar.Com/Calendar or through Facebook Live at Facebook.com/MatSuBorough.