The Anchorage Assembly has voted ‘no’ on appointing an independent council to investigate the Municipal Election and called a special work session to review the situation. The announcement comes a week after polling places ran out of ballots. Rhonda Matthews holds her right to vote dear. She’s voted in every election since she was 18, except when she was stationed overseas with the Air Force. She is one of the people who contact the ACLU of Alaska to report that she was not able to vote during the municipal election. “I don’t care what side of the politics you’re on, it has to do with the right to vote and I was denied that,” Matthews said. Matthews first went to her voting precinct at Klatt Elementary School just after 7 pm on April 3. That’s where she says she was turned away by an election worker in the parking lot who told her they’d run out of ballots and directed her to vote at the Alaska Club on O’malley.
Matthews explains what happened next. “When I arrived, I noticed that the parking lot was very crowded and that some people were exiting the building that appeared to be quite frustrated. I went inside and when I got to the voting table I told the poll employee that I was from Klatt Elementary and had been sent to this location. I was told that I couldn’t vote there but didn’t specify why. I was told I could vote at the airport,” she said.
By the time she was directed to the airport, Matthews says it was 7:45pm, and with polling places closing at 8pm, there wasn’t enough time, so she gave up and went home. She’s one of more than 150 voters across at least 54 precincts that submitted affidavits to the ACLU this past week. Monday, the Municipal clerk apologized in a memo, saying they had sufficient ballots, but did not allocate enough of them to individual precincts. The clerk’s office is still reviewing more than 6,000 questioned ballots that resulted because polling places ran out of official ones. But nobody knows how many people like Matthews just gave up and didn’t vote at all. “How many voters did not get to vote? Was it 50? Was it 500? Was it 5000? We don’t know; to speculate is grossly inappropriate,” Mittman said.