Hundreds of problem ballots pulled from Anchorage vote count

Published: Apr. 6, 2018 at 8:43 PM AKDT
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In the Municipality of Anchorage Election Center in the Ship Creek area, the task of counting thousands of ballots in the city's first vote-by-mail election continued Friday afternoon.

The votes tabulated have reached 77,766, according to muni officials.

But on a table marked with a sign that read "cure letter assembly," there were hundreds of envelopes stacked in red bins that had not been added to the vote count from the April 3rd election.

They are "invalid ballots", and so far, they have not been added to the election vote totals.

Approximately 570 "cure letters" have been sent to voters, according to Carolyn Hall, election education and outreach coordinator , because their ballots contained one of these problems:

- the return envelope was not signed

- the signature did not match the state voter database

- the state didn't have the voter's signature on record

Voters who get a "cure letter" have until Friday, April 13th to take action.

"They will have to follow the instructions" said Hall. "It will be clearly outlined what the issue was, let's say it was a signature mismatch, and they will be asked to provide a signature for us in order in order to resolve the issue."

In addition to the ballots with signature issues, muni officials say approximately 200 ballots have been yanked and designated as "questioned ballots". Those include ballots cast at the five Accessible Vote Centers by people who were not listed in the state voter database, according to Barbara Jones, Anchorage Municipal Clerk. Jones said some of the questioned ballots include votes cast by people who are not registered to vote in Anchorage, or who did not register in time for the April 3rd election. Jones said if the issues with those ballots can be rectified, they will be counted.

Even though the number of problem ballots numbers in the hundreds, muni officials are pleased that the figure isn't higher.

"This is a very small number" said Hall. "It is less than 1-per cent of the overall turnout that we've so far, so we are very pleased that Anchorage voters know how to vote by mail and largely are being able to do so without issue."

Voter who want to check to make sure their ballots were actually received and processed can call 907-243-VOTE (8683).