Mittman said voters had provided affidavits to the ACLU reporting that at least one polling place closed for a half an hour prior to its scheduled 8 p.m. closure time.
Meanwhile, voters continue to tell Channel 2 News of irregularities they experienced while at the polls last week. Karli Kay, a would-be East Anchorage voter, says she received a letter in the mail Tuesday from the city clerk's office saying her vote would not be counted because she wasn't properly registered 30 days before the election. Kay showed Channel 2 News her state-issued voter ID card listing her as a registered voter.
Kay says she recently moved to a new home and that she might have missed the 30-day deadline to re-register at her new address. But she says her old address was also in Anchorage, and she should have already been on the Anchorage voter rolls.
Kay said she was also concerned that a second envelope, addressed to a different voter, was apparently mistakenly attached to her envelope and sent to her address instead.
The letter sent from the clerk's office says she can appeal the city's decision not to count her vote at the election canvass that's scheduled for this Friday.
Local election officials have acknowledged that 55 of 121 local precincts experienced ballot shortages on the evening of April 3, apologizing for the shortages Monday.
Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler, however, suggested in a Monday memorandum (PDF) that estimated totals of disenfranchised votes could be proportionally assigned to issues and candidates on a precinct-by-precinct basis -- although he noted that it was “a starting point” and not a final opinion from his office.
“For example, if a precinct voted 60/40 for one candidate or issue, then the votes that were not cast because of a ballot shortage are generally allocated in the same proportion,” Wheeler wrote. “In effect, the uncast votes do get counted.”
Mittman called Wheeler’s plan inappropriate, and said it would be “just simply wrong" for the Assembly to certify the election as-is.
He added that it would be “highly problematic” if the Assembly doesn’t appoint a special counsel to investigate the election, dismissing statements by Wheeler that the election results were unlikely to change as “a rush to judgment” and “flying in the dark.”
The ACLU provided reporters with copies of four signed and notarized affidavits including one from Colin Smith, the poll chairman at the East Anchorage United Methodist Church, in which he said its ballot box was shut down for half an hour due to a lack of ballots.
“We started out with 450 ballots, which was significantly fewer than we have had in the past,” Smith said. “We started calling our troubleshooter ‘Karen’ about 5:30 p.m. when it was apparent that we would be running out of ballots; she told us to call back later. We called again when we were down to 50 remaining ballots, and were told yet again to call back later.”
In the affidavit, Smith says even exhausting the polling place’s supply of ballots didn’t get an immediate response from election officials.
“Finally we called shortly before 6:30 p.m., when we were out of ballots,” Smith said. “We were directed to send voters to UAA until we received more ballots. At 7:15 p.m., having received no additional ballots, we shut down the ballot box inside the polling place, although we did not close the polling place per se. We finally received additional ballots at 7:45 p.m.”
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