As Assembly members sort through what happened at the polls April 3, national voting groups say the municipality isn’t the only jurisdiction facing electoral troubles. According to the organization Fair Vote, which pushes for election reform across the country, election difficulties are very common these days. The organization points to places like Connecticut, Miami, and now Anchorage. Fair Vote’s spokesperson says the biggest problem is how ill prepared cities officials are: In Anchorage, the most recent election has been called the city’s most chaotic. Critics say what happened on April 3 undermines the democratic process, and they’ve been complaining. “I’m as concerned about the ones I’m not hearing from,” said Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall.
In the wake of ballot shortages at dozens of precincts on election night, it’s unclear exactly how many did not get the chance to cast one. “It sounds like a case of, I don’t know if incompetence is too strong a word, but it’s not having enough money to run an election well,” said Fair Vote’s Executive Director Rob Richie. Richie called it a case of democracy on the cheap, but cited examples across the United States when he said Anchorage wasn’t alone.