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Friday, January 28, 2022

“Potentially uncounted” Municipal Ballots Found

Just when you thought the Anchorage municipal election of April 3, 2012 had come to a completely unsatisfying and maddening conclusion, there’s this. Sent out to the press at 6:30 on a Friday night (where news stories go to die) was an announcement from City Hall which ironically began:


And followed up with this:

“Anchorage Assembly Chair Ernie Hall and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones announce that 141 potentially uncounted ballots in total from three precincts in the April 3, 2012 municipal election were located in precinct election bags on July 11, 2012.

The 141 ballots were found during an organizational process initiated by Municipal Clerk Jones. Typically, sealed election bags should contain only scanned ballots from the precincts. However, three bags contained some potentially uncounted ballots, along with the scanned ballots…

All ballots from the April 3, 2012 municipal election currently remain in a secure area in the Municipal Clerk’s Office.

The Election Commission will be requested to convene to review the 141 potentially uncounted ballots and hold a public session of canvass. The public is welcome to attend both meetings. As advised by Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler, the Anchorage Assembly will be called upon to re-certify the April 3, 2012 election after the Election Commission completes its review and canvass. Times, dates and locations will be announced shortly.”

Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones is the shiny new municipal clerk who replaced the previous clerk Barbara Gruenstein who resigned under a cloud when the election went bad. Her resignation followed the dismissal of Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke who was as unpleasant as she was incompetent.

The ballots that were “found” Wisconsin style , despite the fact that they were in official sealed election bags, had not been scanned through the voting machines on election night. How the ballots were “overlooked,” and why they were not found until now is not known.

Presumably, the new municipal clerk has been cleaning house. The ballot “vault” as it is called, is really no more than a glorified closet with a standard office door lock. During the recount, the ballot “vault” was opened to reveal what looked like a giant storage area filled with boxes and paperwork in a big pile.

The ballots were discovered on Wednesday, but Assembly Chair Ernie Hall said that he didn’t want to have more than one press release go out, so the information was withheld until they could make sure there were no more ballots lying about uncounted. They determined that they had found all the uncounted ballots on Thursday. And then the press release came out promptly… Friday night.

And now, this election must be certified once again, by an election commission headed by Gail Mathew. She’s the one who, remarkably, still has her job, and who sang the praises of Diebold voting machines, lied during an assembly meeting, and came out with two other reports stating that everything about this election was juuuust fine. Don’t worry our pretty little heads about it.

And yes, now we are expected to believe that her third attempt will suddenly mean something.

The discovery of these ballots serves to show that the procedures in this election in dealing with YOUR vote, were shoddy, unprofessional, unacceptable, and potentially nefarious. An audit will not be done, and an accurate one can’t be done considering that the municipality’s policy is to destroy unused ballots on election night.

The group of citizens who pressed for a full audit and hand count of fifteen precincts is in the process of getting their money refunded, because the municipality refused to comply with the terms of the hand count. Questioned and absentee ballots were never examined.

Check back here on Monday for a full accounting of what this latest revelation means, and for an update from the citizens’ group who pressed for the audit and hand count, from Linda Kellen Biegel.



17 Responses to ““Potentially uncounted” Municipal Ballots Found”
  1. Ivan says:

    i still think that we need to file a law suit against the city for denying us our right to vote and to force a re-vote.

    • fishingmamma says:

      I agree, Ivan, I have no confidence that my ballot was counted. I have no reason to believe that I was not disenfranchised.

  2. AKblue says:

    Good grief!
    And the worst problem, the broken seals, was never addressed, was it?
    Please keep us posted about the time of the 2 upcoming meetings; I would like to attend if at all possible.

  3. zyxomma says:

    What is this, a Sartre play? No Exit?

  4. Laura says:

    My first election as an Alaska resident has had more plot twists than a daytime soap.

  5. John says:

    The election commission has canvassed the election twice, and didn’t find any significant problem. The Municipal Attorney has reviewed the situation, and didn’t find any problem. The Mayor joked that if there were missing ballots, they would have all been voted in his favor anyway, so no worries there. Two “independent” attorneys were hired to review the situation. One said the assembly had to certify the election unless you could prove the missing ballots would have changed the election. Hard to do since the ballots were gone. The other reviewed the interviews conducted by the election commission and interviewed a handful of the same people to see if they would change their story, and concluded there were no serious errors.

    So now we find 141 of the ballots formerly known as missing and what do we do? Send the issue to the election commission of course.

    It is obvious that no one keeps track of how many ballots go out to the precincts, and no one keeps track of how many ballots come back. Could someone have printed their own ballots and marked them as voted and stuck them in a ballot box or run them through the accu vote? Sure, there is no way to check for that. Could someone have cut the zip ties on a ballot bag, tampered with the ballots, and then put a new zip tie on the bag? Sure, there is no way to check for that, and zip ties are fairly easy to come by. Does anyone have a motive to try to tamper with an election? Of course they do. Everyone who waives signs on election day, or contributes $5 to their favorite candidate has shown they are motivated to try to influence the election. The only question is whether someone’s motive is strong enough to want to break the law. The opportunity is there if they do want to break the law.

    So what should we do? A recount isn’t going to happen, and I don’t really think anyone did do anything illegal. I think it was just gross incompetence. But now that the flaws in the system are exposed, someone might try next time. So we need to keep the pressure on the Assembly to tighten up the voting ordinance, and ensure that the Clerk’s office adopts better procedures to account for ballot handling.

  6. merrycricket says:

    I knew we hadn’t heard the end of this the last time around. Why? Because it takes three rings to make a three ring circus and now, here it is.

  7. Pokeen Djibouti says:

    Sorry to be OT, but it seems timely.


    You know, it’s probably piling on at this point, but in light of the revelations about Romney’s questionable activities from 1999-2002, I wonder if this might be an appropriate time to reintroduce Frank Bailey’s story about the Honorable Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2006, Mitt Romney, illegally coordinating with Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial campaign. It might add a little clarity for some of just how slimy the GOP’s presumptive nominee can be whenever he thinks he can do something illegal or unethical “off the radar”.

    The story ain’t old until everyone has heard about it, understands exactly who the players were, what & why it happened and finally, why it was illegal, and have heard it so much that they are tired of it. But at that point, at least more folks will know the facts. Just a thought. Thanks and best wishes for your continued success.


  8. COalmostNative says:

    Just when you think thing couldn’t get worse… I’d better buy popcorn in bulk.

    • WritingfromAlaska says:

      You might want to find something even healthier than popcorn. You will be eating lots of it.

  9. Alaska Pi says:

    Looking forward to Linda’s update .
    Blown away that Ms Mathew will again be overseeing “findings” about anything to do with this election.
    Am getting antsy out here, looking at the hundred here and there discrepancies which keep popping up, alongside the shoddy attempt to try to figure out how many folks just flat did not get to vote because of the problems with too few ballots at too many precincts.
    How in the world can the Assembly certify ” results” which shift with each tide?
    (I did read the local law about that and can actually see why within the narrow confines of an overly optimistic-about-the-process POV but cannot understand it within the realm of each mess uncovered… so far uncovered. )

  10. tallimat says:

    Good grief.
    This has got to be a joke.


  11. mike from iowa says:

    Geez guys-this will be like the third certification for the Munis. Does this mean that Sully and crew get three more terms or do they have to go through anither election fiasco at some point? This rwnj cluster-f@#k continues. EI-EI-EI-OH.BTW methinks the election didn’t go bad. It appears to have gone on as planned. Send rain,all you can spare. Please and thank-you.

  12. Beaglemom says:

    Ah, Anchorage!

    This is my nightmare about elections. We vote by absentee ballot and are on record as being registered Democrats. My recurring nightmare is that the completed ballots we mail in are not counted, just put in a corner where, election after election along with other ballots submitted by Democrats in this largely Republican bastion, they accumulate and molder.

    I’ve always been so optimistic about how well the system works. Well, since November 2000 I’ve been increasingly pessimistic. Here in Michigan our Republican governor recently vetoed three new laws that would have created absolute chaos in the coming election with regard to registering to vote, to voting by absentee ballot and finally with regard to turning up at the election site to cast a ballot. Now it seems that the legislature might be able to circumvent the governor’s vetoes. Was his veto action purely for show while knowing that the legislature could reach their voter suppression goals more clandestinely? Time will surely tell.

    But voter suppression is not a good idea. It should be repugnant to all Americans. It is contrary to our system of government. The next step, I suppose, is that classes of citizens will be denied the right to vote: those who do not own property or enough property, those who do not have jobs or jobs that do not pay over a certain amount, those who do not fit a certain racial or gender stereotype. Whatever is happening to our country?

    Anchorage you are not alone. Election snafus are occurring all too often in this country today – all over. It is NOT voter fraud; it is election fraud.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Rethuglicans are whiny,sappy cry-babies. They are so afraid some minority or poor White will get something they themselves don’t have. I give your guv higher marks for finally getting an agreement to build anther bridge to that Socialist dominion,Canada. I hope the owner of the International Briidge and the Koch bros. choke on their bile.

  13. ChilliGal says:


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