Mat-Su Borough Assembly certifies Nov. 8 regular election

The city clerk and canvass board chair shared their experience hand-counting ballots
The city clerk and canvass board chair shared their experience hand-counting ballots
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:01 PM AKST
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Exactly two weeks after the Nov. 8 regular elections, the results have officially been certified in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The process, however, was far from painless for the city clerk’s office as well as the canvassing board, who worked overtime to hand count ballots after they were run through electronic voting machines.

During a Nov. 22 special assembly meeting, canvass board chair Tereasa Thompson spoke in front of assembly members regarding the board’s experience with the process, and how many man-hours it took to complete.

“That equated to working two full weeks, including weekends, with many 12- to 14-hour days,” Thompson said at the meeting. “The push was real and intense.”

With 40.58% of registered Mat-Su voters showing up to the polls for this election, the hand count was a lengthy process — one that will be seen in future elections — after an ordinance was passed in October that gets rid of Dominion voting machines indefinitely. One of Thompson’s main concerns was being able to produce election results in a timely manner.

“Can I ask you to think of a team sport; imagine if you will, coming down to the last few minutes of the game and then having to wait two full weeks for the results,” Thompson stated to the assembly.

During her testimony to the assembly, Thompson said she understood the controversy surrounding Dominion voting machines, but that hand-counting ballots is not a practical answer.

No major discrepancies between the hand count and the voting machine tabulation were reported by the canvassing board. In an election update post made by the borough last week, the hand count did verify that the numbers from the voting machines were accurate. However, the canvassing process identified multiple ballots to review and 12 cases of double voting — one individual voted twice in person at different locations, while another voted absentee and in person.

“We had 10 people who voted absentee and then voted at an early voting site, so that’s 12 overall,” Borough Deputy Clerk Lonnie McKechnie said. “I think that’s the most we’ve ever had.”

According to McKechnie, the information of the voter who blatantly voted twice in person on election day has been sent to Alaska State Troopers.