Alaska Supreme Court denies request to stop sending out controversial general election ballots

Voting in Juneau for the August primaries. (09/18/20).
Voting in Juneau for the August primaries. (09/18/20).(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 12:39 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Supreme Court will allow controversial general election ballots to be mailed out to voters that show how a candidate was nominated to the ballot but not their current party affiliations.

Chief Justice Joel Bolger said the Supreme Court justices decided to uphold a ruling made earlier in the day by an Anchorage Superior Court judge to not halt the controversial ballots from going out. A written decision will be released later, Bolger said.

Alyse Galvin, an independent who is running as the Democratic nominee for Alaska’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, sued the Division of Elections for not listing her nonpartisan status.

Superior Court judge Jennifer Henderson ordered on Thursday that the Division of Elections must stop printing the ballots. On Friday, she declined to halt those ballots being mailed out to voters.

Henderson said that Galvin raised “serious and substantial questions” about why her affiliation was not listed on the ballot but she didn’t know if it raised to the level needed to halt ballots being sent out.

The state has already printed over 800,000 general election ballots and Gail Fenumiai, the Division of Elections director, presented an affidavit to the court that said the state may not be able to conduct a successful election if it needed to reprint the ballots.

The first set of ballots need to be in the mail to overseas and military voters on Saturday unless a waiver was approved to extend that deadline.

A spokesperson for the state of Alaska applauded Henderson’s ruling to not have the general election ballots reprinted.

“We are further pleased the Alaska Supreme Court upheld the lower court,” said Maria Bahr, a spokesperson for the Department of Law. “What is important at this point is to ensure a successful and safe election. That is what the Division is focused on, and this helps ensure it can carry out its duty.”

Galvin said through a statement that she was disappointed by Friday’s decision: “I’ve been a proud independent for my entire political life. I ran as an independent last time and it’s how I’m running now. While I’m disappointed and disagree with this last-minute decision by the Division of Elections, I will continue to fight for better representation for Alaskans all across our state. This election is about restoring our economy and Alaskan’s faith in our government. When elected, I will bring transparency, civility, honesty, and accountability to Congress.”

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