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November 29, 2014

Muni Played Favorites With Ballots (*Update*)

In last week’s installment of the Municipality of Anchorage’s continuing 2012 Election debacle, new Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones made a disturbing find while attempting to (quite literally) clean up the old Municipal Clerk’s mess…141 unaccounted-for ballots.

This has led the trusty Election Commission to meet this coming Thursday and review the ballots they missed the first two times around.

While all of that has been going on, members of our Recount Observation Team have continued to research and slowly pursue the auditing process the Municipality has refused to provide.

…and it’s been free of charge…

The latest bombshell was discovered by dogged number-cruncher Jeanne Friedman. She (like the rest of us) was disgusted that the Muni’s multiple reports on the blank ballots distributed to each precinct did not add up. Descrepancies occurred in the vast majority of precincts and sometimes to the tune of hundreds of ballots in a single precinct.

Her Comparison of Election Reports shows these descrepancies and by themselves they are disturbing. However, what she discovered by accident was downright infuriating.

The Municipality “played favorites” on how they distributed blank ballots to each precinct.

According to Title 28, Anchorage’s Election Code, the City must have the number of ballots on hand equal to 70% of all registered voters. However, as we learned from former Muni Clerk Office employees Jacqueline Duke and Barbara Gruenstein, they don’t take all 70% out to the precincts. They take “enough” for the election and then keep the rest at City Hall.

As Jeanne Friedman discovered while researching her report, “enough” is quite subjective.

If you look at the report and compare it to the 2009 election turnout, (the last mayoral election), it’s clear that the Clerk’s Office did refer to that election when calculating ballot distrubution for many precincts. However, the margins were frequently so razor-thin it was ridiculous. For example, Precinct 335 (St. Innocent Cathedral), Precinct 340 (Mtn. View Elementary) and Precinct 345 (Mtn. View Boys & Girls Club) were all given less than 16% of their voter registration. While the numbers were based on past voting, it was an extremely thin margin considering the contentious nature of this election and all three of those precincts ran out of ballots. The story is the same with most of the precincts that ran out…ballots were provided sometimes within as low as one or two percent of the 2009 election turnout and they weren’t enough.

That’s what makes the exceptions so notable.

For example, Precinct 525 (Shiloh Baptist Church, best known for Pastor Patterson Sr. and Jr’s outspoken anti-gay stance) received about double the percentage of ballots compared to their 2009 turnout in stark contrast to most of the other precincts:

525 Shiloh Baptist Church — 2009 Turnout: 17.34% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 34.8%

However, there were some precincts that were clear favorites of the Municipality. I’ve listed them below (including their 2009 voter turnout). One was in the Government Hill Area:

530 Anch Sq Round Dance Ctr. — 2009 Turnout: 35.54% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 63.2%

However, the vast majority are far-South, in the affluent areas of Anchorage:

845 Abbott Loop Comm. Church — 2009 Turnout: 37.14% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 71.7/74.9%*
850 New Grace Christian Church — 2009 Turnout: 42.46% – Ballots Rec’d 2012: 70.2%
930 Amazing Grace Luthern Church — 2009 Turnout: 40.02% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 75.9%
935 O’Malley Elementary School — 2009 Turnout: 40.00% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 80.8%
940 Bear Valley Elemen School — 2009 Turnout: 36.93% – Ballots Rec’d 2012: 96.1%
955 Seventh Day Adventist Church — 2009 Turnout: 39.63% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 63.7%
965 Goldenview Middle School — 2009 Turnout: 34.09% – Ballots Rec’d 2012: 52.5/61.4%*
980 Valley Bible Chalet — 2009 Turnout: 37.55% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 101.6%
985 Chapel By the Sea — 2009 Turnout: 40.27% — Ballots Rec’d 2012: 73.8/75.8%*
990 Fire Station No. 14 — 2009 Turnout: 51.30% – Ballots Rec’d 2012: 69.6%

*(The dual totals reflect conflicting numbers from two reports. Either number supports the point being made here.)

The fact that some precincts were guaranteed not to run out of ballots while others went into election day in serious danger of doing so gives us evidence we haven’t had until now: disenfranchisement with possible intent.

How serious is this? Take a look at the precincts that were given a cushion of ballots compared to those who were not. Could a case be made for Alaska Native disenfranchisement?

Hello…Justice Department…

The Assembly is meeting tonight and they all have a copy of this report. Please let them know why you are fed up and demand that they act!

Email the entire Assembly at: wwmas@muni.org

(Note: Starting this Thursday at 10:00 am, the Anchorage Election Commission will convene to review the “141 potentially uncounted ballots” at City Hall, 632 W 6th Ave, Rm #155. A canvass of the ballots will be held Thursday, August 2, 2012 starting at 6:00 pm at the same location.)

The public is invited to both events so please attend and demand answers from the Election Commission.

*********UPDATE******** As requested, here is the Municipality of Anchorage list of precinct maps. Specifically, here is the map of South Anchorage precincts where most of the “special precincts” can be found.

Comments

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Comments
27 Responses to “Muni Played Favorites With Ballots (*Update*)”
  1. bb says:

    Jeanne off topic. the new layout shows no jpg at the top here. My IE browser can’t even find the page.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Ms Linda-this report needs to be distributed statewide in Alaska so every thoughtful person can see what rethugs do. This is clearly fraud perpetrated by those in charge simply because they can do it. They must be extremely insecure with little weiners.

    • JeanneF. says:

      Good idea! Linda, I distributed the report to all our local media outlets. No one is taking notice. They must think this is yesterday’s news. Anything more you can do? Warm thanks again for writing this article!!! Hopefully, those people sadly living outside of the Mudflats world will get the news!

  3. Bev Harris says:

    This is an absolutely outstanding report. Superb.

  4. Gail says:

    Thank you for shining the light of day on this fusty mess.

  5. Maggie says:

    I think a map showing the location of different districts would be useful.

  6. WhichTruth says:

    Stack the deck and disguise it as incompetence? KUDOs to the Recount Observation Team.

  7. leenie17 says:

    For those of us who are not familiar with the various parts of Anchorage, could you please give us some idea of how the areas differ in terms of demographics?

    Do the precincts that received fewer ballots include more residents in lower economic classes, more registered Democrats, more minorities?

    • Linda Kellen Biegel says:

      Done — I updated the post with some text to indicate the location of the preferred precincts and I also added links at the bottom to the precinct maps on the Municipality website.

      • leenie17 says:

        Thanks for adding the links and I’m sure they are quite helpful to Anchorage area residents.

        However, as a New Yorker who’s only visited Alaska a few times, I’m not familiar enough with the various parts of Anchorage to know what I’m looking at. I was curious to know if I’m correct in assuming that the precincts being shortchanged are those with lower income families that might tend to lean Democratic, and those precincts that are receiving gobs of ballots are more affluent (and/or more right-leaning) districts. This is just a guess mind you, but, based on the GOP tactics from other elections and the slimy efforts by GOP-run states to suppress Democratic voter registration and turnout, it would not surprise me at all!

        • Linda Kellen Biegel says:

          South Anchorage contains the “Hillside” area, the “Oceanview” area as well as Bear Valley and Rabbit Creek…it is definitely the white-dominant area of affluence.

          Mountain Vew, Fairview, Muldoon, North East are generally the poorer, more racially diverse areas.

          West side from Downtown to South Anchorage butts up to the Inlet so ocean and scenic views. A lot of Anchorage old money there.

          Midtown is generally the long-time Alaska folks, families with kids, middle class neighborhoods.

          Very sketchy description and very general, but does that help?

  8. Thomas says:

    Former resident chiming in – If even one voter was turned away on election day because there weren’t enough ballots at the voting site, you have ELECTION FAILURE. If you have clear indication (as you seem to here), it is time to bring the Justice Department in and somebody needs to go to jail. This CAN NOT be tolerated in a democracy.

  9. Pathos says:

    Oh listen. C’mon.

    This city and State was founded by liars, thieves, con-men and assholes.

    (Unfortunately, every place else was too…)

    They think they can get away with this stuff because they’re assholes. They
    don’t reconnoiter history and don’t ever learn that no crook ultimately gets away.

    (Sometimes, though, it takes a long time.)

    But, now, today, thanks to internet blogs like this one, nailing misdeeds
    in the immediate here and now is accelerating. Bagging these slimy bastards
    quicker than ever – – they may just get the message to not even think of trying it…

  10. hedgewytch says:

    I really hope this actually results in something meaningful being done. Usually its all, don’t worry we’ve corrected the problem and we go on going on in exactly the same way. Diebold machines anyone?

  11. thatcrowwoman says:

    Shocking, eh?
    It’s not voter fraud, it’s Election fraud, if you ask me. All signs point to the Party of No and their puppet masters.
    Many thanks for all who speak truth to power.

    • leenie17 says:

      Amazing how the GOP has their knickers in such a knot about enacting all these new laws to supposedly prevent voter fraud, which is proven to be almost non-existent, but have no such interest in reducing election fraud, which is rampantly, and more blatantly, being perpetrated by the Republican party.

      Not a one of them has proposed any legislation to control or prevent the use of hackable voting machines, improve systems for maintaining paper trails, improving access to locations where mandatory voter IDs can be obtained, helping poor, elderly and disabled voters to obtain IDs and polls on election days, and so on….

      And they STILL deny that it’s disenfranchisement, designed specifically to reduce votes for Dem candidates.

  12. AKblue says:

    All this incompetence and likely corruption and the Republicans are going after voter ID? They’ll cheat any way they can and then go to church on Sunday. Infuriating!

  13. WakeUpAmerica says:

    Linda,
    You and the other observers are totally awesome. Alaska is lucky to have people like you.

  14. Frznturd says:

    Thank you Linda and all of the Recount Observation Team! I appreciate all your efforts.

  15. JeanneF. says:

    Beautifully written, Linda. What I also learned through this process is the use of the phrase ‘voter turn-out’. I have heard our city officials state certain precincts have been given fewer ballots because historically they have a low ‘voter turn-out.’ City officials insist that it would be a waste of time to send additional ballots to precincts with low ‘voter turn-out’…it would be a pesky mess with all of those ‘unused ballots hanging around’.

    However, I believe based upon the data, it is most probable those precincts having a historically low ‘voter turn-out’ have instead had a low ballot COUNT. You can’t count ballots that were never delivered. The city doesn’t track the number of voting citizens turned away from the polls because of a ballot shortage.

    I can imagine being a young mother with her kids walking to the neighborhood precinct (because she has no car), only to be told the precinct has no more ballots. Of course the poll workers would “enfranchise’ the woman’s right to vote by instructing her to go across town to vote. The young mother sighs and walks away. She doesn’t have a car and walks home. In her mind she comes to the conclusion ‘voting is just to hard’.

    Her lack of vote is tacked up by the city in the column, low ‘voter turn-out’

  16. John says:

    We are all equal, but some are more equal than others? I continue to be amazed that some precincts had more votes than the total number of ballots they were given.

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  1. […] Jul 2012. “Muni Played Favorites With Ballots” by Linda Kellen Biegel (The Mudlfats). Reposted with intro and reference list at Bent […]

  2. […] by Linda Kellen Biegel | originally posted at The Mudflats […]



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