A review by the Anchorage Election Commission found that more than half of city precincts ran out of ballots in the trouble-plagued April 3 elections, according to a report unveiled today. The commission is not, however, recommending a third-party investigation into the election or a new election. “All indications are that ballot shortages for (certain ballot types) were the result of unintended error on the part of the Clerk’s Office,” the report concludes. “While this created chaos during the final hours of the mayoral election, the problem did not meet the standards of malconduct, fraud or reckless indifference on the part of anyone involved.”
The commission’s findings that 65 of 121 Anchorage polling places temporarily ran out of ballots is higher than the previous total estimated by the clerk’s office. Clerk’s office employees previously estimated that ballots ran dry at about only one in three precincts. In the new report, the commission found a variety of Election Day problems, including:
— 65 precincts were out of all ballots for some period of time.
— Precinct workers were given inconsistent guidance and information regarding the use of sample and photo-copied ballots.
— Voters’ inexperience using sample ballots to cast their votes caused “consternation” and delays.
The commission recommends hiring an additional city employee to work specifically on coordinating elections and hiring workers. The city has not had an employee dedicated primarily to those tasks since the departure of former Elections Coordinator Guadalupe Marroquin in 2009, said Assembly woman Harriet Drummond.