An election official lays out “I voted” stickers on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Stickers for the 2020 general election featured designs by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

An election official lays out “I voted” stickers on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Stickers for the 2020 general election featured designs by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Lt. Gov. seeks initiative audit to calm questions

He said he thinks the ballot measure passed “fair and square.”

By BECKY BOHRER

Associated Press

Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer said he plans to seek an audit of votes cast on a statewide ballot initiative to help put to rest questions some have raised about the “validity” of election results tied to the vote tabulation equipment the state uses.

Meyer, who oversees elections in Alaska, said the state is charged with conducting a “fair and honest election, and I believe we’ve done that.”

Meyer said the only reason he’s seeking an audit is because “so many people think our Dominion machines are faulty, corrupt and easily manipulated, and I think a lot of this is misinformation that’s coming from the national level.”

President Donald Trump and some supporters have sought to sow doubt in the results of his race by attacking Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest voting technology providers in the U.S., despite no evidence of any serious irregularities.

Alaska has used the company for years and got new Dominion machines it used for the first time in this year’s primary election, Meyer said.

[Almost all races called, but results not yet certified]

His chief of staff, Josh Applebee, said it was “perfectly reasonable, considering the fact that this is new equipment, to do the audit, to verify the accuracy of them.”

Meyer said the machines proved accurate during the primary.

The issue Meyer said his office is hearing about most following the Nov. 3 general election is Ballot Measure 2, which voters narrowly approved. That measure will be the subject of the audit.

The initiative would do away with party primaries and institute ranked choice voting in general elections. Some people say they don’t understand how it could go from trailing on election night to being on top, Meyer said.

Election officials, ahead of the general election, sought to tamp down expectations about election night results, which did not include the large number of absentee, early and other ballots that officials did not begin counting until Nov. 10. Some campaigns and others encouraged early or absentee voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The audit would not change any votes and would occur after results are certified, Meyer said. He did not have an estimate for what it would cost. He said he surmised a bipartisan state review board would do the hand count after it completes its other election duties.

More than 340,000 ballots were cast on the initiative. Unofficial results showed the measure passing with 50.55% of the vote, compared to 49.45%.

Meyer said he thinks the ballot measure passed “fair and square. But we have to be able to convince and prove to all Alaskans that not only did that pass fair and square but the whole election process was done fairly, accurately and lawfully.”

Scott Kendall, a drafter of the initiative and an attorney for the initiative sponsors, said his guess is that Ballot Measure 2 was picked “because they’re getting an earful that people don’t like the results.”

He said in Alaska there’s “literally zero evidence that anything went wrong.” Kendall said it’s ironic there are some people “who love certain results on the ballot but don’t like other results. Yeah, you don’t get to pick and choose. But I can understand the school of thought that says, there’s nothing wrong, let’s show them.”

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 7

Here’s what to expect this week.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

This late-April photo shows a damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminding people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. Masks will not be required in school buildings this year. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday Aug. 12, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

From left, Kelsey Dean, watershed scientist with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, and Kaagwaan Eesh Manuel Rose-Bell of Keex’ Kwáan watch as crew members set up tools to drag a log into place. Healthy salmon habitat requires woody debris, typically provided by falling branches and trees, which helps create deep salmon pools and varied stream structure. (Courtesy Photos / Mary Catharine Martin)
 
The SalmonState: Bringing the sockeye home

Klawock Indigenous Stewards and partners are working to a once prolific sockeye salmon run.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police ID man missing from cruise ship

Coast Guard suspends search efforts

Most Read