Alaska Lt. Gov. announces bill aimed at increasing election integrity

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 1:48 PM AKST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2021 at 6:39 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer discussed a new bill aimed at making tweaks and improvements to the state’s election process on Tuesday afternoon, speaking to assembled media at the Atwood Building in Anchorage.

Meyer went over a plan that seeks to make a number of improvements to the state’s current election process with the goal of increasing election security or integrity. He and Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the Election Integrity Bill, which Meyer said it not yet finalized but will be introduced to the Alaska Legislature within the next few weeks.

LIVE: Lt. Gov. discusses election integrity

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer is discussing election integrity in Alaska from the Atwood Building in Anchorage.

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Meyer and Dunleavy said the issues addressed in this bill are things they were thinking about back during their campaign. They said a copy of the bill was not available yet for the public to view, but laid out of number of things it seeks to address, including:

  • Applicants for the Permanent Fund Dividend would need to request voter registration along with that, rather than it happening automatically with the PFD application.
  • A requirement for the Alaska Division of Elections to review certain records, such as voters who have died, voters registered in other states or certain felony convictions.
  • The bill would include creating a toll-free “offense hotline” that voters could call if they thought they witnessed “questionable activity” at polling places.
  • The bill would give voters the option to cure, or fix, their ballot if they made a minor error. Curing absentee or mail-in ballots is already established in some local elections, including in Anchorage.

In response to questions, Dunleavy and Meyer said that efforts to better protect the state and state election process from cybersecurity threats is not specifically addressed in the bill.

“Obviously we had a data breach in 2020, and since then we’ve hired many contractors to help us test it,” Meyer said. “Vulnerability testing, penetration testing. We have testing lines up with — it’s going to be at least two to three weeks long — with Homeland Security in the month of January. So we feel pretty good that what we have in place and what we’ve been doing is going to make our election system as safe as possible.”

Meyer said making the election system secure is an ongoing process. When asked by another reporter, Meyer confirmed that strengthening protections of voter registration information is not specifically included in the bill, but said that one goal is to “clean up and better manage” the state’s voter registration lists.

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