Nearly 14 weeks after the April Municipal Elections in Anchorage, yet another shoe has dropped in connection with that flawed election day. On Wednesday of this week, 141 sample ballots were discovered in a vault in Anchorage City Hall. As of publication, no one knows if those votes were counted in the election. In a way, the matter is academic. 141 votes will not alter the outcome of any race or ballot-proposition from April 3rd. The closest vote on any matter before the public that day was decided by a margin of at least 3,000 people. But the new revelation does add to the embarrassment of the city. Already, a city clerk — and a deputy city clerk — have lost their jobs over this issue. Today (Saturday) Ernie Hall, the Chairman of the City Assembly, said that preliminary indications are that the latest irregularity may be connected with the confusion of election day.
On that day, as it became clear at 2 in the afternoon that paper ballots were running short in half the precincts of the city. So poll workers were forced to improvise. They issued “Sample Ballots” to voters, and had them cast their votes on them. But after the votes were written on those sample ballots, election workers had an obligation to treat them differently from rugular ballots. Because optical scanners in the precinct are programmed to ignore sample ballots, the improvised samples were supposed to be put in separate envelopes — and marked as “Questioned Ballots”. Instead, they were sealed in bags with regular ballots.