Articles about voting issues in Alaska.

Alaska: Judge reverses House District 40 primary, gives Nageak a two-vote edge | Alaska Public Media

Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi ordered the Division of Elections to certify that incumbent Benjamin Nageak of Barrow won the primary over Dean Westlake of Kotzebue by a two-vote margin. The outcome of the primary could determine who organizes a House majority. While both are Democrats, Nageak caucuses with the Republican-led House majority, and Westlake said he’ll caucus with the Democrats. The decision reverses the outcome of a recount, which had Westlake winning by eight votes. Nageak, who is the co-chairman of the House Resources Committee, expressed relief. “I’m pleased by the court’s result and hopeful it will be sustained during the appeal to the Supreme Court,” Nageak said. “I’m sure that’s where it’s going to go. And I hope this decision will result in improvement of training.”  Read More

Alaska: Nageak’s lawsuit against state election officials to proceed | The Alaska Journal of Commerce

The case of Rep. Ben Nageak, D-Barrow, vs. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Director of Elections Josie Bahnke will start on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi has ruled that the trial must begin next week and end no later than Oct. 3 so that the Division of Elections will have proper time to mail ballots ahead of the general election. Attorney Stacey Stone, representing Nageak, requested additional time to put together a comprehensive witness list, as rural witnesses must be both properly vetted and logistically organized, continue the discovery process, and issue the necessary subpoenas. “The reality is that absentee voting starts on Oct. 24,” countered Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh. “That means ballots need to be mailed out by Oct. 17 which means we probably need a decision by the Supreme Court by Oct. 14.” In order for that to happen however, Guidi would need to make a decision by Oct. 7. Read More

Alaska: The painstaking work of translating Alaska’s ballot into Native languages | Alaska Dispatch News

After hours in the state elections office in Midtown Anchorage last month, two women stared at a computer screen, murmuring words in Yup’ik. They were struggling over the translation for the phrase “risk-adjusted return.” One of the women, Lorina Warren, looked across the table at Indra Arriaga, language assistance compliance manager for the Division of Elections. “Tell me in simple English what this sentence means,” Warren said — an oft-repeated phrase among groups of people working to translate state election materials into seven Yup’ik dialects and the Interior language of Gwich’in by the November election. Nearly a decade after the Native American Rights Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state over its failure to provide ballot materials in Yup’ik, the painstaking work of helping Alaska Native voters understand what they’re voting on has become an expansive undertaking, one that involves deciphering complex financial concepts to faxing handwritten notes between Anchorage, Fairbanks and remote villages. Read More

Alaska: Newly enacted Native language voting provisions rolled out at polls in August primary | Alaska Dispatch News

Before choosing a primary ballot at a polling place set up at the Manokotak City Office this week, Mike Toyukak glanced at two sample ballots offering Yup’ik translations of the English ballots available for voters to chose from. From signing for his ballot to depositing it into the ballot box, it only took Toyukak a few minutes to vote. But the scenario he encountered — the Yup’ik language sample ballots, an interpreter on hand had he needed one, and even a Yup’ik glossary of terms available for the poll workers to refer to — were years in the making. And Toyukak was at the heart of the change. His first language was Yup’ik. And for years, when he went to vote he was confronted with an English ballot, and difficulty understanding all the nuances it contained. Although he knows some English, he also knew that others were having an even more difficult time with the language. Read More

Alaska: Reeling From Effects of Climate Change, Alaskan Village Votes to Relocate | The New York Times

Residents of a small Alaskan village voted this week to relocate their entire community from a barrier island that has been steadily disappearing because of erosion and flooding attributed to climate change. In the unofficial results of an election on Tuesday in the village, Shishmaref, residents voted 89 to 78 to leave. The plan would move the village, which is 120 miles north of Nome, to one of two sites on the mainland about five miles away, officials said. But the village needs an estimated $180 million from a patchwork of sources to complete the move, according to a 2004 estimate. Shishmaref is an Inupiat community of about 600 people on Sarichef, an island north of the Bering Strait that is about one-quarter mile wide and two and a half miles long. It has been grappling for decades with the loss of buildings and infrastructure caused by storm surges, and it has shrunk over the past 40 years — more than 200 feet of the shore has been eaten away since 1969, according to a relocation study published in February. Read More

Alaska: Alaska Prompts Convention Hiccup By Requesting A Vote Recount | TPM

The Republican officials trying to keep the drama-filled GOP convention on track just can’t catch a break. After powering through the delegate vote count that made Donald Trump the official GOP nominee with relatively little disruption from the Never Trump crowd, the proceedings of Tuesday evening’s convention programming were briefly interrupted because the Alaska delegation request a recount of its votes. “We were never told that you were going to miscount our votes tonight,” a representative from the delegation said from the stage’s microphone, according to The Atlantic. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chair of the convention, asked the delegate if he was requesting a recount, which the delegate confirmed he was. Read More

Alaska: Lost in translation: The difficult but necessary process of creating indigenous language ballots | KTOO

The state’s Division of Elections is required to translate ballots and create an elections glossary in six dialects of Yup’ik and also Gwich’in. Those are the terms of a lawsuit settled last year by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. But that process isn’t easy. Think about these words — “candidates for elected office are running for a seat.” What image pops in your head? Retired Yup’ik professor Oscar Alexie says not a political event. “I’m thinking of people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and all those guys at the race line waiting for someone to say ‘Go!’” And whoever gets to the chair first is the boss, Alexie said. Read More

Alaska: Challenges and joys of crafting a Yu’pik ballot | Alaska Public Media

The state’s Division of Elections is required to translate ballots and create an elections glossary in six dialects of Yu’pik and also Gwich’in. Those are the terms of a lawsuit settled last year by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. But as Alaska Public Media’s Anne Hillman learned – that process isn’t easy. Think about these words – candidates for elected office are running for a seat. What image pops in your head? Retired Yup’ik professor Oscar Alexie says not a political event. “I’m thinking of people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and all those guys at the race line waiting for someone to say ‘Go!’” And whomever gets to the chair first is the boss, Alexie said. Alexie is part of the eight-person team that’s trying to translate election materials into Yup’ik. He said it’s not easy because the words need to mean something in Yup’ik, not just be literal translations from the English. So one word in English – like candidate – ends up being a phrase in Yup’ik. But technical ballot language in English is dense. Something like “candidate statement” isn’t straightforward. Read More

Alaska: Judge challenges attorneys as campaign finance trial wraps up | Alaska Dispatch News

A weeklong trial in a lawsuit challenging the state’s campaign contribution limits came to a close Tuesday, with U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess asking probing questions of attorneys defending the state’s limits on nonresident contributions and expressing some concern limits set at least a decade ago haven’t risen with inflation. Kevin Clarkson, attorney for the plaintiffs who say their free-speech rights are hurt by the donation caps, said in his closing arguments the state never overcame a fundamental hurdle, proving the $500 maximum a person can give to a candidate per year is the proper amount to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption, as the law intends. Proving why that number is correct is the state’s “first step,” but the state never met that obligation, he asserted. The constitutional challenge — brought in November by Alaska Republican Party District 18, Alaskans Aaron Downing and Jim Crawford and Wisconsin resident David Thompson — challenges the $500 limit and three other contribution caps. The Alaska Public Offices Commission is named as the defendant. Read More

Alaska: Judge tosses Alaska Democrats’ lawsuit | Juneau Empire

A Juneau Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Alaska Democratic Party against the state of Alaska for its refusal to allow independents to appear on the party’s fall primary ballot. In his decision, Judge Louis James Menendez wrote that the state’s motion to dismiss the case was appropriate because the Alaska Democratic Party has itself not yet approved rules allowing independents onto the party ballot. That decision will not be made until the party’s statewide convention in May, when delegates will be asked to change the party’s rules. Read More