I attempted to vote on Friday as I am going out of town and will not be able to vote here locally. Upon arriving at the Homer City Hall I was given an absentee ballot with no Republicans on it, only all the other parties. In this election, my choice for senator was a Republican candidate who would best represent Alaska at the federal level of our government. I was told the ballot I was handed was it and could not change. Afterward fold in three parts, put in an open envelope and return to the one person on duty for voting. In addition, I have to fill out a form to change my party declaration which will be valid 30 days from now. So this vote was void as I chose not to vote for any of these other candidates.
I believe my voting rights have been violated as I was unable to vote for my choice in this election. I am not sure how my ballot was received and tallied as it was left in an open envelope with only one clerk to monitor the batches.
What I learned is that when you move to a new area such as Homer, a new voter registration card may be requested and issued at the DMV or Homer Library.
You declare a party and receive a letter for party affiliation. I do not recall anyone explaining these options to me and perhaps one was assigned without my choice.
My wife moved here from Texas and at the DMV asked for a voter’s registration card. She was asked what party and declared she does not have a specific party loyalty. She was assigned an “Independent Party” status.
The Independent Party was only on the Democratic Party ballot. She wanted to vote Republican for some offices. To vote differently in the future she was not told that a new voter registration form needed to be filled out and submitted 30 day prior to any election where her party voting choices may change.
I believe this system and lack of education to us the voters slants the election unfairly. We simply were not able to select the candidates of our preference in this hotly contested election with critical issues to decide.
What I learned was based upon further investigation: Voter beware. It reminds me of real estate where the entire burden of the process is on the voter, not the ballot box holders.
When you update or change your voter registration, select the “nonpartisan” category. It allows you the largest of choices but still may not guarantee full access to the candidates and issues you cast your ballet for and endorse. I believe every voter in Alaska should change to “nonpartisan” status.
What I would suggest and advocate from our state representatives and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell to insure the integrity of Alaska’s voting system as follows:
1) Put all qualified candidates on one ballot and within each category select the appropriate response such as all qualified Senate candidates and select only one.
2) Review the ballot handling process and ensure uniform integrity for each voter and ballot. No method to seal the envelope and lack of accountability to monitor the ballots may invite voter fraud and skew elections.
3) Volunteer as a “Poll Watcher” to keep a keen eye on activities.
Although I have vision challenges, I have been a poll watcher in the past in Wasilla. Now that I am in Homer I choose to become involved in activities that affect us all in our community.
I am sending this email to the media and political parties and request responses from appropriate representatives.