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Voices from the Flats – Brad Friedman

AK DEMS: State Division of Elections Inappropriately Aiding Write-In Voters in U.S. Senate Contest.

by Brad Friedman

As you may know, the U.S. Senate race in Alaska between GOP nominee Joe Miller and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, Mayor of Sitka, has been thrown into what’s quickly turning into a potential three-way toss-up with Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s write-in bid for the seat.

She and her father have long been insider fixtures within Alaska’s political establishment, and so now both the state Democrats supporter McAdams and Miller’s campaign are accusing the Department of Elections, run by the state’s Republican Gubernatorial administration, of taking sides to help Murkowski by inappropriately making a printed list of those write-in candidates who have filed a declaration of intent (under AS 15.25.105) available to voters who ask for help at the polling place.

A series of letters back and forth between the Alaska Democratic Party (ADL)’s attorney Joe McKinnon and the Director of the state’s Department of Election (DoE)’s Gail Fenumiai highlight a questionable-at-best assertion that the printed list of write-in candidate names should be shown to voters if/when they ask questions about how to cast a write-in vote.

Fenumiai argues that the best way to provide assistance when it’s requested, as required by both state and federal law, is by showing voters the list. McKinnon disputes the argument, and offers specific citations of law, demonstrating that the statutes are very specific about what sort of help may or may not be provided to voters at the polling place. He argues that offering the name of a write-in candidate to voters constitutes “electioneering”, as specifically barred inside or within 200 ft. of the polling place…

Fenumiai says the DoE is merely trying “to provide assistance to voters in the polling place upon request. The list of write-in candidates is the best way for poll workers to provide consistent information and assistance to voters if requested, regarding write-in candidates.”

McKinnon charges that “There is no statutory or other legal basis for generating and making available to voters a list of write-in candidates and we are unaware, in the fifty-year history of the state, that such a list has ever previously been generated or used.”

A request sent to Fenumiai by email late Friday afternoon by The BRAD BLOG, seeking copies of any printed list of write-in candidates distributed to polling places in past elections has so far gone unanswered.

Vagueries in Alaska’s law on which write-in votes are acceptable for counting (eg. the state has previously indicated that a misspelled “Murcewsky” might be counted, while a voter who simply specifies “Lisa” might not) along with known, and serious, deficiencies in the state’s Diebold computerized optical-scan vote-counting system — both of which we detailed some weeks ago here after Murkowski lost the GOP primary and then announced her intention to run as a write-in — are likely to lead to some nasty, post-election legal contests from all sides.

That the DoE seems intent on standing by their assertion that showing the list of write-in candidate names to voters is the best way “to provide assistance to voters in the polling place” seems legally sketchy at best and, potentially, downright illegal. Before we even get to the fight about which ballots should be counted and which ones shouldn’t after the election, the battle over the printed list of write-in candidates is likely to head to court, according Friday’s report in the Anchorage Daily News. The buzz we’re hearing from sources in Alaska suggests that may be the only option as early voting continues apace with that list of write-ins available, and being shown to voters, at polling places.

DailyKos’ Joan McCarter also picked up on the story yesterday.

* * *

Here are some of the letters [all PDF] being lobbed back and forth on the issue between the DoE and the ADL (though Miller’s campaign, we’re told, has also issued objections to the DoE’s questionable policy):

• 10/20/10 DoE replies to ADL’s initial objections.
• 10/20/10 ADL replies in kind, citing statues which they feel DoE is violating.
• 10/22/10 DoE’s email to a McKinnon supporter, standing by their position


Brad Friedman is an L.A.-based investigative journalist/blogger, political commentator, broadcaster, author, Commonweal Institute Fellow and the Publisher and Executive Editor of The BRAD BLOG where this article is cross-posted.

Brad is a 2010 Project Censored award winner, recognized for “Outstanding Investigative Journalism” for his coverage of “The Mysterious Death of  Mike Connell—Karl Rove’s Election Thief”. He also contributed a chapter to Project Censored’s new Censored 2010: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008-09 book on the enormous problems encountered by voters in the 2008 Election.

He is also co-founder of the non-partisan government corruption watchdog organization and its Election Protection Strike Force.

In addition to appearances on ABC News, CNN, CourtTV, Fox “News” Channel and elsewhere to discuss his reporting on a variety of issues, Brad can currently be seen in a number of documentary films which highlight his work, including:



68 Responses to “Voices from the Flats – Brad Friedman”
  1. Chris says:

    The leesa corruption runs deep.

  2. physicsmom says:

    Unbelievable! I feel so sorry for you guys. I suspect you will be without a Senator for representation for a long time. Maybe even longer than Minnesota. The Corrupt B*stards Club is alive and kicking and influencing voters all over AK. Seeing how corrupt the AK political infrastructure is, it’s hard to imagine them changing their policy before the voting is over. What a mess!

  3. biglake says:

    Anyone from Oregon who can comment on their system of mail-in voting?
    I wonder if that is what the future will hold.
    And, it would keep the postal service in business!

  4. Viapops says:

    Someone let me know…I only have to lfile with the DoE five days before the election if I’m a write-in candidate? Well, heck if that’s true I’m getting 50 of my best friends to file w/ the DoE. If we ALL get 50 of our best friends to file then my, my what fun list the the DoE will be providing to the voters on Nov. 2.

    Any takers??

  5. Latitude 66 N says:

    Say, this just posted a few minutes ago, but I don’t know the writer or how to respond to the accusation that no one else has shown an interest in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources or I would have posted a response (there are none at the time of this posting). Any takers?

    Replace ScottMcAdams with “bookmark for the correct url

  6. The Republican party changes the rules at the polling place to suit their needs. When I went to hold up an Obama sign in Homer I went inside before I even got the sign out. I asked them to tell me where I could stand. They told me and I went outside and called the police asking them to come clarify where I should stand because I knew the idiots were going to come out of the woodwork. The police did not come which is SOP for regular citizens (the police on the Kenai Peninsula generally respond only to those with power or who are business owners). I got out my sign and went exactly where the people running the polling place said. About twenty minutes later a cop showed up and told me I had to move. When I explained what they said and that I was right where I was supposed to be he told me they changed the door they were measuring the 300 ft from just then. They called him back two more times and had me moved farther down the street each time. While all of this went on Republicans drove up and down the street flipping me off. Then each time the cop moved me they drove by and laughed. Homer is not what it is advertised to be, The term rethugs applies very well to those who are in power there.

  7. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Should the Division of Elections be under the umbrella of the Lt Gov? After the crap Parnell pulled with really misleading wording on the wolf initiative, and this junk, and who knows what else – why is the Division under an elected official?

    • Moose Pucky says:

      Let’s just make that elected official Diane Benson, for now. But you are right. Division of Elections should be non-partisan. An apppointee might be just as bad or worse than an elected official? The D.A. is involved in this one also. Campbell and Sullivan had their name on the Div. of Elections letter.

  8. Joe 12-pack says:

    C’mon, I gotta disagree…I don’t have a problem with not posting write-in candidate lists…but how can you honestly deny an individual that information if they ask it of an election official. Now, that’s electioneering.

    • bobatkinson says:

      Giving names has never been done in Alaska before as part of the assistance procedure. You as an informed voter are supposed to have decided who you are going to write in and bring that information with you. That is the enormous hurdle expected of write in candidates and why they so very rarely ever succeed. No names may be mentioned or posted in any manner within 200 feet of the voting booth. Mechanical assistance like where to write your candidates name in and how to fill out the oval is all you have a right to expect. This is how it has been for the entire history of the state until this incredibly misguided decision by Lt. Gov. Campbell. This is going to court for a long, long time and Lisa will lose big time.

  9. Saint Roscoe says:

    If every person who would have voted for McAdams in a straight up battle with Murkowski voted for McAdams now, he’d win with 40% of the vote, with Murkowski and Miller splitting their 60%.

    Hopefully Murkowski shenanigans gets regular Dem voters pissed off to the point they stop worrying about strategic voting and realize that these are the same games a Joe Miller would play.

  10. Califpat says:

    Go!!! Fishingmamma! I hope other Alaskans join you in keeping scrutinizing eyes on the election!!! I will be there with you in Californian spirit!!! Go McAdams!!!

    • bobatkinson says:

      When you get to the judges section it is imperative that you vote no on the McKay line because he is the dirty dude who declared that we the public have no right to see the emails of Palin. The email chain that implicates the Palin administration in a string of unethical and probably illegal activities will never be seen because of this one judge. I highly suspect that one of the reasons Lisa decided to do the write in campaign in spite of the huge difficulty in getting over 50,000 voters to turn out, write in and spell correctly her rather difficult name is that she was notified that the voting process was being reinterpreted to help her. We of course will never have access to that correspondence once this travesty goes to court because Judge McKay has decided executive privilege supersedes the publics right to know. Throw the bum out no matter how you vote on the rest.

  11. fishingmamma says:

    I signed up to be a poll observer. Best way to keep the process honest is take the time to put eyes on it. I double dog dare all of you to join me.

  12. the problem child says:

    I’m really scared at the fact that there are so many potential voters in Alaska who don’t know how to spell the name of their preferred candidate that that supposed “preferred” candidate has to game the system.

    • Moose Pucky says:

      The issue goes beyond spelling. It’s electioneering if folks are prompted about write-in candidates. Just as it would be electioneering if the names of any other candidates were handed to a voter by a poll worker. It’s not fair or legal. Must be stopped dead in its tracks.

      • the problem child says:

        It’s true, if someone who is genuinely illiterate wants to vote for a write in (or any other candidate) their vote could be stolen. “This is how you spell Miss Piggy – M-u-r-k-o-w-s-k-y”

      • Alaska Pi says:

        I was a poll worker for many years.
        Woe unto anyone, voter or poll worker, who wheezed, coughed, or crossed an eyelash in a manner which could be construed as electioneering.
        This current DoEl stuff with the write-in names is wacko.
        I can’t lose work to poll watch but am counting on fishingmama and others to be eyes and ears for all of us.
        Thank you folks!

  13. seems2me says:

    If it’s OK to give someone a list of write-in candidates when they ask for assistance, then it would seem to me it’s OK to post that list along with all the other voting instructions. If it’s not OK to post it for everyone to see (as I thought has been established), then it’s not OK to do it individually under the guise of assistance. Seems obvious to me that if someone asks for assistance with a write-in vote, that assistance is limited to explaining the instructions, ie, “write the name of the person you want to vote for here and fill in the oval next to it.” Anything more is just ludicrous.

  14. Moose Pucky says:

    So three voters walk into a bar (poles) and one says, who do I vote for and how? Who responds? The poll worker for the Democrats? The poll worker for the Republicans? The poll worker for the Libertarians? And who referees? And who pays attention? Who is assertive? Who is not? And how many lawsuits will there be during 2011?

    Just fill in the oval in front of McAdams, Scott T. and be done with this.

  15. beth says:

    re: leenie17 @ 3… Pat, Washington state @ was also wondering (in the “Lisa, Liar, Pants on Fire! Murkowski Makes False Claims About Endorsements” thread) about similarities of this voting to the Florida voting. Never being one to shy away from voicing my opinion, I responded thusly (below — from @ of that thread.)

    As Mrs. Slocum says: “And I am unanimous in this!” 😉 beth.

    P,Ws — the Florida vote *results* were about which candidate had more ‘punches’ via the ballots [the infamous “hanging chads”] – whether more holes had *intended* to be punched for Gore (or for Bush) than were being read/scanned by the machines. In the AK election, now, that would be comparable to everyone getting together at tally time and deciding if a write-in of “Lisa Merkowski” would be allowed but “I Merechow” would not. In Bush/Gore, fed courts looked at how the *result(s)* of the cast ballot was/were being counted.

    In *THIS* election in AK, it’s the *process* that’s compromised. Big time. By placing in the VOTING BOOTH a separate set of instructions on how to cast a write-in vote [even if the names of possible write-ins are not listed], the voter is being ‘told’ to write-in a candidate…the *specific* instructions are subliminal electioneering at its best. By putting those *specific* instructions in each *booth*!, the Dept of Elections is giving *more* emphasis, weight, importance to the write-in than to the printed.

    If there were a sheet of paper in each booth stating: “How to Vote: Fill in the oval next to the printed name of the candidate you are voting for; if you do not see the candidate you wish to vote for listed (printed) on the ballot, neatly write their name on the line provided and fill in the oval next to that written-in name”, that would be one thing. It would be *impartially* giving *equal* instructions on how to vote…which is what the Dept of Elections is *supposed* to do.

    As it is, by *only* and *specifically* telling voters how to do a write-in, the Dept of Elec is blatantly showing ‘favoritism’ for write-in candidate(s) — just because a candidate decides to run a write-in campaign, that does NOT mean the Dept of Elec can go out of its way and place/instruct *more* emphasis on how to vote a write-in than on how to vote for a printed. The AK Dept of Elections is electioneering *for* the write-in…electioneering in the booth! The Feds’ll love it. beth.

  16. Simple Mind says:

    I have to admit ambivalence with this issue. On one hand, I think every American citizen should have a full opportunity to vote for whoever they please, be it Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Yoshihiro Katayama, or Lisa Murkowski. If it takes help spelling, who cares? The point is to allow every person a chance to vote. But then there is the other side of the issue. Lisa Murkowski and her Party of No seem to hold rules sacrosanct …. until the rules stop them from doing something they want to do. They are the perfect example of the phrase, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” Could you imagine the yammer Murkowski would raise if a Democrat helped “advise” a voter in the booth? This business combined with her campaign flyer
    “error” make me believe that Murkowski is either a liar and cheat or that she employs liars and cheats. Either way, she needs to step up and take responsibility.

    • Moose Pucky says:

      She needs to be sent packing by the voters. Let’s send the ethical person to the Senate–Scott McAdams.

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      You also run into the voters who wouldn’t know the difference. They ask the worker how to spell Murkowski, and if they have something to copy, being pretty illiterate, the the worker hands them a paper with “Joe Miller” written on it.
      There are still people who can’t read. There are still people who would ask for that type of help and not know the difference when the wrong help was given.
      The plain and simple fact is, that, in a democracy, the voter has to take ultimate responsibility. They have to know what they’re going to do when they get in there.
      As a Californian, I can (and do) take my sample voter’s guide with me when I don’t vote absentee. This speeds up the process, since I just duplicate what I have in the voter’s guide. If I wanted a write in, I could have all that done, as well. If they want to know how to spell her name, they can take it with them, stuffed into a pocket.

  17. beth says:

    I’m am shocked –SHOCKED, I tell you– that no one understands what the AK DoE and its individual polling locations, apparently, does.

    Namely: It is a foregone conclusion that the citizens want the current Senator returned to DC and therefore all voters *WILL* write in her name and *WILL* vote for her (as a write-in candidate) — *all* voters, therefore, *must* be hand-held and walked through the write-in process while IN the voting booth. IOW, the DoE *assumes* voters are NOT going to vote for *either* the Rebublican OR the Democratic party nominee…they are going to vote for a write-in.

    I do believe both the Miller and McAdams campaigns have a damn strong case to have ALL on-site early votes thrown out. There had been an order of magnitude of tampering with the *process* of voting at those locations — all votes cast under the ‘helpful’ weight of *specific* instructions for write-ins, have, without exception, been unfairly –and totally illegally– influenced by those *specific* [write-in] instructions. Gads — how in the world did AK get so ‘southern’ in its voting? I thought it was only in the South where votes were, once upon a time, so strongly influenced/intimidated out of citizens… beth.

    BTW — and then there’s this, now, about Joe…”Alaska judge orders GOP candidate records release” b.

    • Carol says:

      Can a later write-in sue on that basis? The whole idea of letting write-ins wait until 5 days before election was to give all of them an equal footing. A later write-in can say that they were unfairly disadvantaged by the electioneering for the previous write-ins. Indeed this looks like electioneering on the part of the officials handling the election-a clear case for a lawsuit. Miller, McAdams, and later write-ins and minor party candidates have standing to sue based on the actions so far.

      Whoever gave Lisa this advice did her no justice. Being a write-in is already an uphill climb due to the obvious problems that not being on the official ballot brings-questions of voter intent, legibility, and whether or not votes get counted at all if there’s a clear winner. I’m not familiar with Alaska law, but depending upon what the law says, there could be reasons to invalidate all her votes/or call for a new election where she may not win either.

      • beth says:

        If a write-in candidate doesn’t declare/file as a write-in until 5days before, I don’t believe they’d have a leg to stand on re: the current list of write-ins being [ahem] ‘shared’ with voters at the polling place. It’d be like someone knowing the swimming pool hours are from 10am until 5pm, them showing up at 4pm, and then grousing that they missed out on the 6hours the other swimmers got.

        And I don’t see how they can invalidate Lisa’s on-site early votes without invalidating *all* the votes for Senator, either. SInce the DoE/poll workers, by giving out *special* lists for write-ins *have* influenced voters to vote *for* her, any count would be skewed…possibly the voter had really wanted to vote for the D or R candidate, the one(s) printed on the ballot, BUT, with *special* instructions facing them, had opted for the write-in, instead (as suggested/electioneered by the mere presence of ‘the list’ in the voting booth and/or polling place.)

        Until they get rid of *all* lists of the write-ins, ALL on-site early votes for Senator will have to be invalidated, IMHO, because to *not* invalidate them all, would [possibly] skew the vote *from* who the voter had *wanted* to vote for, to a null-vote.

        If there were, say, 200 votes that *were* intimidated/electioneered/influenced for Lisa, votes that would have *otherwise* gone to McAdams, could make all the difference in the final tally. To throw out *only* her write-in votes from early on-site voting, just won’t work — they all have to be tossed.(IE – if Miller has a 150 vote lead, and it turns out McAdams had been ‘electioneered’ out of 200 votes, Miller wins…if neither Miller OR McAdams (or Lisa) has any votes from the early on-site voting, they are on an equal, un-influenced footing…only absentee and ‘once the lists are banned’ votes will count.) beth.

        • Carol says:

          So it sounds like a potential upshot could be the elimination of all votes and possibly a special election. Could that be what Lisa has in mind as well? A special election after all of the dirt on Joe Miller comes out could possibly leave her as the Republican nominee against Scott McAdams, which, by the way was supposed to be a blowout for her. Pehaps that’s also why she isn’t going very hard after McAdams-she probably hopes that he’s her opponent in the Special Election.

          I wondered why Lisa was taking the route she was taking. It would seem better for her overall political career to concede, say nothing, and then run against McAdams six years from now. She loses what appears to be a long-shot gamble, she’s pretty much done as far as a political career goes.

  18. Susan says:

    It might make sense for those of us who vote early to ask the perfectly legitimate question, “How to I vote for a write-in candidate?” If you get a response like, “You put Lisa Murkowski’s name right here,” or “here’s a list of write-ins,” or something subtle like a finger tapping on the line under Senator while answering in a legal manner, the person in charge of the polling place needs to know about it immediately.

    • bobatkinson says:

      I early voted yesterday in Seward and asked the very discreet and professional young woman behind the desk if she had the list of write in candidates and would I be allowed to take it into the booth with me. She said yes they had been issued lists of write in candidates and from the instructions she got from DOE it was her understanding that indeed I could take the list in with me. Really there is no difference in having the list posted in the booth or having the ability to take it in with you now is there? Sure can’t understand why the Palin/Parnell admin would make this complete reinterpretation of Alaska
      s election law that is totally designed help Lisa over the enormous challenge of getting over 50,000 people to both remember her name and to spell it correctly when they both supposedly endorsed Miller. This is really a bizarre development in an already strange election season that could backfire and result in the challenge and disqualification of thousands of Lisa’s ballots when the courts declare this tactic illegal as they surely will. I can see Gulfstream jets loaded with Koch Ind. attorneys heading north to challenge every write in vote. What a fri###n mess the DOE has created here.

      • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

        That’s ridiculous. Reported?

        • bobatkinson says:

          I didn’t report it because this is the very issue that the Democratic Party is threatening to sue over. If you see the back and forth correspondence you see that Fenuel and Campbell are sticking to their decision to allow voters to take the list in the booth as part of the “assistance”. Campbell has acknowledged that the list posting inside the booths was illegal and the Homer votes affected by that have been withdrawn but they are sticking to their brand new shiny never ever been use before interpretation that it is legal to give out names. Just stunning that they would acknowledge the illegality of the posting but not the carrying of the DOE printed list with you into the booth.

          • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

            I want to know what criteria they are using to put the names on the list.

          • beth says:

            There is a HUGE difference between taking a list of all “your” candidates –both party and write-in hopefulls– either self-written or printed out in, say, your local newspaper, with you to the polling station/place and then into the voting booth, and taking in a list *exclusively* of write-ins, specifically printed out with *only* those names, and, just for the asking, given to you at the polling place to take into the voting booth…

            I see absolutely nothing wrong with a voter taking with them (into the voting booth) a piece of paper or whatever, of the candidate(s) and/or measure(s) they want to vote for…*including* listing any write-ins, if the voter wants to vote for a write-in. If the voter thinks they might get addled with so many measures and/or so many candidates, the taken-in list is great insurance that things’ll go smoothly. I’m all for it for those who feel it would be beneficial to them. As long as they vote, in whatever way makes it easiest for them to vote, go for it!

            What I see as extremely problematic, though, is the DoE/poll workers making that list and giving it *at the polling place* to the voter to take into the voting booth. That, to me, is *beyond* “assistance”…it’s not telling/showing/explaining to the voter *how* to make a write-in vote, it’s telling the voter *who* the DoE specifically says the voter should vote for. How does the AK DoE not see this? How does the AK DoE figure giving voters a list *at the polling place* does not violate both the law and its spirit/intent? That it’s not a *major* violation?

            Heck, in my area, once you step out of the voting booth, a poll worker gives the area a good look-see to make *sure* you’ve not left any listing of names or instructions or anything [behind] that might influence –in *any* way, shape, or form– the *next* voter to use the space. Once the space is ‘cleared’, and only once it’s cleared, the next voter can use it. So why, again, are the AK DoE and its poll workers giving *special* attention/approval to write-in candidate(s)?

            Inquiring minds want to know… beth.

  19. Millie says:

    I already mentioned this –

    What about the ‘blue’ bracelets w/Lisa Murkowski’s name and the oval filled showed filled? Supposedly voters will be allowed to wear them in the voting polls as long as other voters don’t see them…then they would have to be discarded?

    Seems like it would be against the law to me!

    • CO almost native says:

      The blue bracelets must not be visible- except to the wearer in the voting booth. And- if a poll watcher observed the first voter giving it to another voter within the designated “no electioneering” zone (should be marked), the bracelet should be confiscated and the actions of voter1 reported.

      Nothing can be posted inside a voting booth- an election worker is responsible for helping a voter orally, but not with anything written.

      These are federal rules–

    • dreamgirl says:

      Leasa Murky is circling the drain right now… blue bracelets?— FLUSH

  20. luckycharms says:

    I would think that some over-zealous McAdams or Miller supporter would remove that write-in list from the polling booth while they were voting. They will undoubtedly have a hard time keeping them up… don’t you think?

    And you can register as a write-in candidate up to five days before the election for no fee. So, if anyone out there wants to jump in the ring, go for it! Particularly if your name is Lisa M_____. Or Leesa M_________ or Leasa M_________ or LIza M__________ etc. Just saying.

    • Bretta says:

      Time for the Monkey Wrench Gang – I’ll take my Sharpie into the booth and black out any and all instructions. Perhaps I’ll wander from booth to booth until the Drip Zone arrests me. I mean illegally kidnaps me.

  21. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Scout posts about the poster inside the booth:

    #9 scout
    October 22, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    I expected this bull from the twisted Gestapo wanna be, but from a sitting Senator??! Scummy sleazy trash.

    I’ve voted in AK for 25 years and not once has there been anything inside the booth save a pen, until today. Today there was a huge blown-up poster of instructions on how to make a write-in vote taped to the inside of the booth, front and center. Why this year and no other????

    Martha Unalaska Yard SignNo Gravatar says:
    October 22, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    That stinks – if it’s there this year, it needs to always be there. It is allowed by statue it appears, but I don’t remember ever seeing this.

    ‘ According to Alaska Administrative Code, 6 AAC, 25.070, “Information regarding a write-in candidate may not be discussed, exhibited or provided at the polling place, or within 200 feet of any entrance to the polling place, on election day.” It also states, “Instructions for indicating a write-in choice will be posted in each polling place. If the instructions are not understood, the voter may ask an election official for assistance.” ‘
    9.1.1 beth:
    October 23, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    Good heavens! — does Alaska not distinguish between “polling place” and “voting booth”? What part of “each polling place” is the Alaska Department of Elections having trouble understanding?

    Surely Alaskans make a distinction between multiplex and theater; house and kitchen; book and chapter? How do they figure a polling place is the same as a voting booth?

    Question [another one—this one not so much rhetorical]:
    In each polling place, is there *also* hanging on a wall somewhere within easy visibility, a poster or sheet of paper with instructions on how to cast a ballot *along with* [specific] “Instructions for indicating a write-in choice” *OR* are the [specific] “Instructions for indicating a write-in choice” a stand-alone, solo poster/sheet of paper inside the individual voting booths?

    If it’s the latter, it *IS* influencing the voter; it’s saying to the voter:
    “We, the Department of Elections, think the write-in vote/candidate(s) is more important than the vote/candidate(s) listed on the ballot, so we are giving you *special* instructions, right here, in the voting booth, on how to vote for a write-in…we’re not giving you *equal* instructions on how to mark your ballot for voting, we’re giving you *special* instructions on how to do a write-in.”

    Oh, yeah…this thing is going to go the the courts. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up in Fed Courts. And it’s going to be there for a long, heavy time. Electioneering is a no-no…even if it’s being done by the Department of Elections! Gads, what a mess; what a terribly uncalled-for, unnecessary, and unmitigated mess! beth.

    • scout says:

      Yes, MUYS, your interpretation is correct. There were all the standard DoE posters that are normally posted at polling locations ~ along the walls as you wait in line to register and get your ballot (outside the booths) and this one-and-only-time-I’ve-ever-seen there was one poster of write-in instructions INSIDE the booth itself. (And one inside the booth next to mine, as well.)

    • dreamgirl says:

      With this mess, better be no hanging chads or misspellings or something…..

      McAdams wins by a landslide! Yes he will.

  22. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Gail, you are pissing me off! I read your letter the other day and you are full of BS by saying the only way to offer assistance at the polling place is to provide an actual list of the candidates. Also, too – this does not address the people who are planning to write in “Martha Unalaska Yard Sign”. What is the criteria for being recognized as an official write in candidate? What makes the names on your existing list “official”? Please enlighten me to this process – if it exists I don’t know it, then I’ll learn something. If it doesn’t, then what are you doing?

    I interpret this to mean : If you have write in candidate, you must fill in the oval next to the write in space, AND spell their entire name as correctly as possible.

    One more thing – scout mentioned that there were write-in instructions inside the booth (if I understood the post correctiy) and yet the statute said there should be write-instructions as the polling place. Beth pointed this out. So, which is it? And if it’s in each booth this election, then those instructions need to be in each booth until forever more, and you should still explain that interpretation of the statute.

    That’s it, done deal.

  23. BeeJay says:

    As I recall, in Washington state anyone can be a write-in candidate, no prior filing with the secretary of state needed to state as such. Certainly no electioneering either, no lists in the polling place.

    As a result, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy can receive their fair share in an election, especially if no one really likes either candidate.

    Don’t know about Arizona, where I live now, but I’m sure the process is tightly controlled. Wouldn’t want someone to sneak into office now, would we?

    • guest says:

      At some point, Alaska was the same. I don’t know when it adopted a requirement to formally file as a write-in candidate.

  24. leenie17 says:

    If this list posting is found to be illegal, is there a chance the the entire election could be deemed invalid and have to be done all over again? Anybody know what the options are for this?

    I imagine that, if no lists are permitted at all, since lists HAVE been posted (or made available) in numerous locations, every write-in vote could then be protested by one or both of the other candidates, making the election results completely invalid.

    Sheesh…what a mess! It’s the Florida ‘dangling chads’ all over again!

    • vyccan says:

      And if it all had to be done over, would Lisa M. then get the chance to be included on the ‘redone’ ballots? If the answer is ‘yes’, maybe that’s why they have chosen this route? Sure hope Alaskans give Scott a CLEAR victory!

  25. Moose Pucky says:

    Alaskans must take the Div. of Elections to court because of their last official communications urging poll workers to use write-in lists to “assist” voters. We need an injunction now if Alaska’s election process is to be trusted. Trust in the election process is the foundation of democracy.

    And while you’re at the polls filling in the oval next to McAdams, Scott T., do the same for Berkowitz/Benson so we can have an ethical Lt. Governor and Div. of Elections in the future.

  26. CO almost native says:

    Yikes. I’m going to need a lot more popcorn, as I assume there will be many court fights, before and after election day. In Colorado lists of write-in candidates are clearly illegal; I thought they would be in Alaska, especially since once can become a write-in candidate up until October 28th. So, how can a list be complete at this time? (I need the smiley smacking its head against the wall)

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