More Early Voting Hanky-Panky. Poll Observers needed! (UPDATED w/ link)
You may remember this story from AKM on Tuesday:
In Homer, apparently, reports were received that each booth had a written list of the write-in candidates posted. This is electioneering, and absolutely illegal. If you see anything irregular when you are early voting, please take a picture of it.
The above picture is courtesy of KTVA’s Matt Felling from a message he put out on Twitter. The Alaska Democratic Party was sent this picture by an early voter in Homer who saw the list when he walked into the booth. Sure enough, the list was in all of the booths.
The Alaska Democratic Party sent a letter of complaint to the Division of Elections over the incident. However, this is far from the only problem.
Today, the Democratic Party held a press conference describing even MORE evidence of partisanship by Division of Elections poll volunteers:
Rob Sterling went today to the Chugiak Senior Center to cast his early vote. After showing his ID, getting his ballot, and going to his voting area, he asked an election worker, “How do you do a write-in?”
The election worker took Sterling’s ballot, re-oriented it, pointed to the U.S. Senate write-in space, and said:
“Since it’s only you and me in here, what you do is fill in this oval here and write Lisa Murkowski’s name here.”
Then the election worker called over another election worker who provided Sterling with a sheet of paper with Lisa Murkowski’s name. Sterling, who is training to be a poll watcher, said, “I thought you weren’t allowed to do this.” To which both election workers replied, “We were told we could.”
When I asked “who” actually told them, I was informed that it was the Division of Elections.
DOE Director, Gail Fenumiai responded to the letter from AK Democratic Party Chair, Patti Higgins point by point. Where there seems to be serious disagreement is the reponse to point #3:
Hmmm…I was not allowed to leave my “Obama” button on in 2008 UNDER MY COAT when I walked into the polling place. I had to take it off and put it in my pocket. Yet, they are claiming that SHOWING A PIECE OF PAPER WITH THE WRITE-IN CANDIDATES NAMES ON IT fits the requirements of the Alaska Statutes under “helping” voters?
Attorney representing the ADP, Joe McKinnon, disagrees (emphasis mine):
You are correct that election officials may assist voters, when requested, as provided for by AS 15.15.240, which states:
A qualified voter needing assistance in voting may request an election official, a person, or not more than two persons of the voter’s choice to assist. If the election official is requested, the election official shall assist the voter. If any other person is requested, the person shall state upon oath before the election official that the person will not divulge the vote cast by the person assisted.
The statute clearly contemplates a voter who requires assistance because of illiteracy, physical incapacity, or inability to operate the polling machinery. It does not allow poll workers to freely provide counsel and advice to voters as to the array of potential voting options. There is no indication either in the text of the statute or its legislative history that the statute was intended to empower poll workers to give information to voters as to their potential voting choices. Such conduct, inadvertently or by design, could sway voters in their decision-making. Poll workers are present to ensure that voters are able to use the polling machinery, not to provide voting advice.
HERE IS A LINK to sign up as a “poll watcher”…they are desperately needed. If you don’t have the time to sign up for a shift or two, PLEASE keep your eyes and ears open when you do go to vote and report ANYTHING that seems unseemly! (Also, it doesn’t hurt to carry a camera and a recording device, just in case.)
This nightmare is only beginning, folks. I have no doubt that this is start of many posts on the subject.
If anyone needed one more reason NOT to vote for Lisa Murkowski, this is it.