The counting of the ballots in the upcoming Anchorage election will be streamed live 24/7 according to updated rules
The counting of the ballots in the upcoming Anchorage election will now be broadcast live 24/7, and election observers will need to register and be trained by the city.
These are among several changes and updates to the city’s electoral processes that the Anchorage Assembly approved in a 10-1 vote on Tuesday.
Passionate public testimony, largely opposed to the changes, forced the Assembly to address the issue at a special meeting on Tuesday after running out of time at a meeting last week.
“Much of this was brought about by the controversial elections that took place this year,” said Pete Petersen, member of the East Anchorage assembly. “And so we felt that we needed to make some changes to clarify the rules so that everyone would know what the requirements are.”
Petersen said the changes came after numerous meetings of the Assembly’s Ethics and Elections Committee, special public hearings and working hours of Assembly lawyers.
Assembly members who lobbied for the changes said they were routine updates to the city’s electoral process that have taken place in most years since the 1980s.
“It’s a regular process that has been going on for decades in this city,” said Felix Rivera, a member of the Midtown Assembly, who said he had counted about two dozen updates to the electoral process code. city ââsince 1980.
But this year’s updates have garnered more public attention following unproven allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. In Anchorage’s local election this year, workers also took action. faced “unprecedented harassment,” according to a report from the city clerk. Dave Bronson narrowly won the mayoral race, but publicly questioned electoral processes, part of a national trend among some Conservatives.
Several of the changes approved on Tuesday related to election observers and the clerk’s authority over them.
Under the new rules, the clerk can limit the number of observers at the polling center to as few as one per candidate or campaign. Each candidate can have up to four designated observers per polling station, and the registrar’s decision to reduce the number of observers would apply equally to both parties.
“If they have to be reduced, it will be equal,” said City Clerk Barb Jones. “It’s a matter of equal protection.”
Crystal Kennedy, Chugiak / Eagle River assembly member, proposed an amendment that would have included city attorneys in any decision to reduce the number of observers at a specific voting site. This amendment was rejected after other members expressed concerns about the ability of the clerk to make quick decisions in unusual or urgent circumstances.
The new rules also require observers to visit election facilities as part of their training. And they make it clear that observers can only challenge election officials on voter eligibility, verification of signatures, arbitration of ballots during the counting of votes, though they can still file complaints about irregularities. that they see.
Jamie Allard, Chugiak / Eagle River Assembly member, cast the only vote against the changes.