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Recount Team Meets with the Anchorage Assembly

(Tonight at the Anchorage Assembly Meeting, the Members will hear and vote upon a Resolution (9.B.7), submitted by Assemblywoman Gray-Jackson and co-sponsored by Harriet Drummond and Patrick Flynn, that is intended to refund the $1,500.00 the Recount Application Group submitted to the Municipality. The money was required by Title 28 in order to request and generate the hand count of 15 precincts. The Resolution was a result of the report and meeting described in the post below. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, votes against it.)

The Election Board Counts Precinct 840, Service High

On Friday, June 15, members of the Recount Application Group (the 10 qualified voters who signed-on) and the Hand Count Oberservation Team (those volunteers who dedicated hours of their time to observation and research) met with the Anchorage Assembly in a Worksession where they presented a report on their findings. The primary presenter was Carolyn Ramsey and she was joined by Jeanne Friedman, whose excellent observation reports were central to the findings, Melissa S. Green, whose spreadsheets provided the bulk of the data, and Linda Kellen Biegel, who put together the report.

KTUU covered the meeting and very kindly digitized the report (without the Appendices) in three parts:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Much of Carolyn’s presentation was included in the report as part of the Introduction, which I have included below. The information that the group amassed came from the Hand Count itself, from issues raised by the Count, from issues brought to us by voters and poll workers and even issues raised by the reports provided by the Municipal Clerk’s Office on the Elections website.

On May 2nd per AMC 28.90.010, ten qualified voters filed an application with the Municipal Clerk’s Office for a recount of the votes cast in 15 precincts in the April 3, 2012 Anchorage Municipal Election.

The Recount Application requested a hand count of 15 precincts (215, 220, 235, 240, 340, 445, 550, 610, 625, 660, 670, 675, 830, 840, and 925). It also requested a full audit of these precincts

The Municipal Clerk formed an Election Board in accordance with AMC and the counting began Wednesday, May 9 in Room #155 at City Hall. The Municipality stopped counting on Friday, May 18.

As required by Code, we, the petitioners (with assistance from others) paid $100 for each precinct we requested to be recounted for a total of $1,500.00. In addition, we, the 10 qualified voters, were joined by a group of dedicated volunteers who spent days observing the recount process. Together, we spent hours quantifying our experiences through emails, phone calls, meetings, reports and spreadsheets.

We understand the election is over and we are not here to advocate for a different outcome. What we are here to do is present our findings which have brought to light serious inconsistencies and failures in how municipal elections are conducted. These failures and inconsistencies led to voter disenfranchisement and voter distrust throughout the Municipality.

The random sampling of 15 precincts identified multiple inconsistencies and failings within the voting system. These findings include issues which could affect all precincts.

1) Improper ballot handling from initial orders through the counting process resulted in missing ballots, uncounted ballots, and erroneous ballots.

a. Ballots distributed to precincts during election night have not been accounted for. Some ballots have been lost in this process. (See MOA ballot accountability report and MOA ballot receiving list)

b. Because ballots are not individually numbered it is not possible to have a clear chain of evidence to show which ballots have been distributed to and received from each voting precinct. (See 06-2012 ANCHORAGE_HAND COUNT [Green].PDF in Section 1 and Ballot Accountability 4-13.PDF in Section 3)

c. Question and absentee ballots were not sorted by precinct during the counting process. Regular voters were made to vote question ballots and votes were not counted by precinct. Verifying official precinct voting results was made impossible. (See recount observer notes, question voter logs)

d. Ballots not officially voted were not inventoried and are untraceable. This aspect eliminates a clear system of verifying official vote numbers.

e. Facsimile ballots were hand-created by the city clerk’s office for any ballot unable to scan through Accuvote machine. Errors in creation of facsimile were observed in the process by recount observers. Due to lack of a ballot numbering system, facsimile ballots could not be matched with their original ballot. (See recount observer notes, Section 1.)

2) The numbers don’t match.

a. MOA accountability report is not consistent with the precinct chair’s ballot receiving list. The precinct chairs accepted different numbers of ballots than the clerk’s office has reported. (interview with precinct 300 chair) Example 300 had 450 ballots at beginning of day. Requested ballots through out the day. Ballots finally delivered at 7:45 pm with only appr 50 ballots delivered. MOA accountability report states 425 ballots delivered. 500 ballots confirmed by precinct chair vs 875 MOA accountability report.

b. Ballot Invoices for the Spring 2012 election show:

i. 4,000 absentee ballots ordered for use during the election. The election commission report says that over 5600 absentee ballots were counted. Where did the extra 1600 ballots come from and who purchased them?

ii. No question envelopes were ordered for use during the election. The election commission report says over 5,300 question envelopes were counted.

iii. Only a small amount of question ballot envelopes are delivered to each precinct (approx. 40-50). How did multiple precincts run out of ballots but have 200 question ballot envelopes?

3) High rate of inaccuracy during ballot count.

Through the recount process, the clerk’s office discovered errors in counting the total number of votes in 14 of the 15 recount districts. This is an error rate of 93%

4) There was a lack of established, consistent procedures and training.

a. As reported in the election commission report and other sources, inconsistent instructions were given to election workers.

b. Different procedures were employed at different precincts.

c. During the recount which was directly supervised by the city clerk’s office at adjoining tables.

d. The election manual is woefully incomplete and does not provide guidance for many issues that are likely to occur during an election, including what to do if a precinct runs out of ballots.

5) The recount was never completed because the absentee and Questioned Ballots were never counted, in direct violation of Title 28. Nor did the Municipality conduct anything like an audit of the 15 precincts which was requested in the Recount Application.

(As a result of #5, it has been postulated that we should perhaps get our money back.)

Some of the members of the Assembly who remained for the Worksession (it followed a two-hour quarterly meeting with the Anchorage School Board and another one-hour worksession) looked uncomfortable. Elvi Gray-Jackson and Harriet Drummond expressed their “horror” and Chair Ernie Hall found the report to be “sobering.”

All in all, the meeting appeared to be a success. However, the meeting after the meeting gave us great deal of personal satisfaction.

UAA Professor and Blogger, Steve Aufrecht, was one of our volunteers for the Hand Count Observation Team. He did this blog post on the meeting.

Several Assembly Members popped in and popped out during the meeting, which lasted from 2:30 until 5:00 pm. We went through two of the four pages of Recommendations (the last section before the Appendices) with an understanding that we will continue in July, after a number of our vacations are over.

We will keep you up-to-date on the progress.

Comments

comments

Comments
12 Responses to “Recount Team Meets with the Anchorage Assembly”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    when i voted in iowa’s primaries i noticed the courthouse has an accu-vote machine. ni model number is visible as it is encsonced in a wooden box with just the name and slip for inserting ballot for counting are visible. ni one there knew what model number it was and one of the candidates for county supervisor is aware of the problem with the machines and will look into it if he is elected. he is a friend and rethuiglican. good luck getting changes made in alaska with rwnj running everything.

  2. benlomond2 says:

    I thought Egypt didn’t HAVE snow….. my mistake evidently……

  3. zyxomma says:

    Thank you for your service to the Alaska citizenry, Linda, and thanks to the other nine as well.

  4. John says:

    I think we should invite Jimmy Carter to supervise next April.

  5. AKMagpie says:

    Stellar job Linda, both the article and all of those who funded and participated in the recount and report. Can we create a Citizen Medal of Valor to present to all? Perhaps to be presented at one of Shannyn’s Moore Up North programs in the fall when vacations/fishing season are over? Could we have a panel discussion on the recount? Thanks for being there!

  6. Dale Sheldon-Hess says:

    Wait wait wait… 7,000 questioned and absentee ballots are unaccounted for, and so very well may have been incorrectly counted? In an election where the most-controversial vote had a 5,000 vote margin?

    So basically, we know nothing, we have verification of nothing?

    • AKMagpie says:

      I didn’t expect anything else. Totally FUBAR’d election from the git go. Perhaps we could sue for criminally negligent executions of election? Lots of evidence of unbelievable incompetence found. Yoicks, such a business!

  7. zyggy says:

    Great write up Linda, and I hope MOA will review all the work your group did and follow through on the suggestions, otherwise I strongly suggest UN Peacekeepers watch the next election. =) Sort of kinda not kidding about the UN watchers. Also th links didn’t work for me.

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  1. […] Jun 2012. “Recount Team Meets with the Anchorage Assembly” by Linda Kellen Biegel (The […]

  2. […] of us were clear when we met with the Assembly that we had nothing to show of any foul play and not enough incompetence to change the election. Of […]



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