While there was a lot of controversy coming out of the recent local elections in Anchorage, AK—where a majority of precincts ran out of official ballots and anti-gay activists encouraged voter shenanigans to help block an LGBT protections measure—the Anchorage Assembly has voted not to launch an independent investigation.
The ACLU has called for an independent assessment of the election, the AP reports, because the appointed investigator, Dennis Wheeler, works for the mayor (who nabbed 59% of the vote).
The nonprofit has produced affidavits from poll workers and voters detailing ballot shortages, instances where voters were sent from district to district, and other serious irregularities.
Among the ACLU-solicited sworn statements was one from Collin Smith, a polling place chairman. By 6:30 p.m. on election day, he was out of ballots, he said. The polling station began the day with too few ballots, he said, and called three times for more. When none arrived, he temporarily closed the ballot box, he said, adding he was told to send voters to another precinct.
“Overall, voters were very upset and yelled at me for not having adequate ballots,” Smith wrote.
Offering a glimmer of hope, the Assembly will convene on Friday to discuss the election and hear from city clerk Barbara Gruenstein and the six-person Election Commission.
The lack of adequate ballots can be attributed to human error, but not a lack of foresight: Gruenstein said the city printed enough ballots for a 70 percent voter turnout, more than enough to cover everyone who showed up to vote. But for some reason, a large number of ballots were never distributed and just sat in City Hall. “We never ran out of ballots; they were just in the wrong spot,” Gruenstein said.
Was that just stupidity—or a conspiracy?