Results On Gay-Rights Prop In Anchorange Clouded By Voter Fraud, Ballot Shortages And Other Shenanigans

With a population of less than 300,000, Anchorage is hardly a teeming metropolis. But a recent gay-rights ballot initiative has put the Alaskan city at the center of a big election controversy, with allegations of voter fraud, disenfranchisement, ballots being uncounted and more.

Under debate is the results of Tuesday’s vote on Proposition 5, which would have banned discrimination in the city on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While it appears 58% of the electorate voted against the measure, numerous irregularities have brought these results into serious question:

* More than half of the city’s voting districts reporting running out of official pre-printed ballots and the Municipal Clerk’s office has acknowledged that there were more than 1,400 “unscanned ballots” not counted by official Accuvote machines. Reports of unauthorized substitutes, including photocopies of sample ballots, have surfaced in the media. Mayoral candidate Paul Honeman claims some voters were forced to use napkins as ballots.

* The Anchorage election code allows people who don’t appear on the voter roll to submit a “questioned ballot,” which is sealed and then evaluated by a commission appointed by the mayor. Of the roughly 50,000 votes cast on Tuesday, more than 6,000 were questioned ballots—as compared to 1,060 such ballots in last year’s election.

* Anti-gay activist Jim Minnery (right) has been accused of encouraging illegal voting in Tuesday’s election: Minnery sent an email out to his followers asking,  “Did you know that people can register and vote at the same location and it doesn’t even have to be at their precinct location?” (This is actually not true: Voters must register 30 days before an election.)

Later, a post on Minnery’s Protect Your Rights: Vote NO on 5 Facebook page again claimed it was possible to register on Election Day.

Attention Young People or First Time Voters – YOU CAN REGISTER AND VOTE AT THE SAME LOCATION TODAY !! It is super easy. Take a few minutes TODAY and stop by a polling station, register to vote (all you need is your AK driver’s license) and cast a NO Vote on Prop. 5. We really need you to vote. Tell at least 3 of your friends how easy it is.

* Barbara Gruenstein, Anchorage’s Municipal Clerk, told KTUU Channel 2 that she had reason to believe people from outside Anchorage were attempting to vote in the election. Even if they were ultimately unsuccessful, their presence would have no doubted added to the long lines and ballot shortages widely reported.

The city has appointed municipal attorney Dennis Wheeler to investigate these voting irregularities but ACLU of Alaska director Jeffrey Mittman claims that since Wheeler works for Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan—who won handily in Tuesday’s election—there’s a clear conflict of interest. (Mittman’s got a little conflict himself: He headed up the One Anchorage campaign, which pushed for Prop 5.) The ACLU is calling for “an independent, special counsel to investigate the conduct of the April 3, 2012 Municipal Election.”

The contentious presidential election of 2000 had a smaller number of irregularities and it still wound up going to the Supreme Court. We have to think this situation deserves a lot more scrutiny by open and impartial parties.

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  • randy

    And yet it’s always republicans who claim voter fraud.

  • Bipolar Bear

    Back in the 1980s, the Salvation Army and a cohort of fundie churches presented an “800,000 signature” petition on the steps of Parliament to try and stop homosexual law reform being passed (the country’s population at the time was around 3 million). It later emerged that many of the signatures were obtained by force, and bore such legendary names as “Donald Duck”.

  • Gorbeh

    Minnery looks gayer than a flaming rainbow unicorn prancing to Lady Gaga at a Will and Grace marathon.

  • Shinynewac

    Im gay and live in Anchorage. Nobody has used the word fraud except for Queerty. The elections and Prop votes aren’t even certified and not even fully counted yet.

    Minnery is a scumbag no doubt, but Prop 5 went down pretty soundly…just like it has since the 70’s. It is what it is.

  • Stefan

    @Shinynewac: Maybe, maybe not. If over 6,000 ballots of 50,000 are questionable, that means 12% are questionable. Since it passed by with 58%, enough of the 6,000 ballots getting nullified would be enough to push Prop 5 to pass.

  • Shinynewac

    Different computer…same name. Silly Queerty. They should get Discus.

  • TxHeat

    Shinynewac I think you are mistaken, google fraud for your election and you will find there are pages of sites talking about your tainted election.There needs to be a new election. Besides fraud being committed by the anti-gay lobby, thousands were not even able to vote. I am glad the Alcu is on this as it is a sad day when churches bus people in to corrupt elections.

  • Shinynewac

    The election official has not said fraud. I get that our community is pissed but they’re not going to make up 10 thousand votes.

    Debbie Ossiender is the Assembly chair. She will stalk this out for a year, just like when people testified at the LGBT hearings a couple years ago. She had the ability to be the super majority vote to override the mayors veto but she’s a heartless, gutless piece of shit.

    This is over sad to say.

  • DB

    I think the problem with this ballot initiative is that the authors included an unrelated demographic characteristic, ‘gender identity’, on a proposition that should only have included one characteristic (‘sexual orientation’). Successful civil rights laws are those that focus on specific characteristics rather than try to throw in irrelevant characteristics. For example, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 included ‘race’ but did not include ‘sexual orientation’. If it had included sexual orientation, it almost certainly would not have passed in 1964. Similarly, we need to support only civil rights bills that include sexual orientation and oppose those with a poison pill inclusion of gender identity.

  • Eric


    I don’t like the way you said that. Now I don’t know if you meant it this way, but it kind of sounded like you called anybody who gender bends poison. As a trans person, I deserve protection as well.

  • Macmantoo

    What do you expect from the state of Sarah Palin?

  • Shinynewac

    @DB: I agree. My sexual orientation has nothing to do with someone’s gender identity.

  • Danny

    It is easier to get “sexual orientation” measures passed than “gender identity” ones because vastly more people know gay people than know trans people. Also, the “who gets to use which bathroom” issue doesn’t arise. It would be interesting to reintroduce the measure with only sexual orientation to see the result.

  • Stefan

    @Danny: Assuming the results get certified and Prop 5 is officially defeated, they should do this for the November election. It would likely pass given the higher voter turnout and the “bathroom scare” aspect being eliminated.

Comments are closed.