Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anchorage City Clerk Barbara Gruenstein's fishy election; lowest turnout in last 3 mayoral elections, but ballot shortages all over city; ACLU sets up hotline

KTUU map of ballot shortage locations throughout Anchorage
Locations marked on Google map, created by Chris Klint and Jeff Rivet,
were submitted by Channel 2 viewers and Facebook users
A list of locations is at the end of this post.
Steve, of the blog WhatDoIKnow, was suspicious of Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Gruenstein's explanation of Anchorage's recent, chaotic mayoral election when he read her explanation in the Anchorage Daily News story, "Voter turnout creates ballot shortage."
 "An 'unprecedented number of voters' caused the shortage, she said."
     He thought that odd, due to his research using figures from the city clerk's office, which showed turnouts of 35.18% in 2006, 29.92% in 2009, but only 26.92% in 2012 (as of 11:48 pm Tuesday night, with 118 out of 121 precincts reporting).
     The law requires printing enough ballots to cover 70% of the registered voters — 143,386. 26.92% is only 54,946 ballots.
     143,386-54,946=88,440 extra ballots. 
     Here is Barbara Gruenstein's explanation for why that wasn't enough, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News:
Not all the ballots were distributed to polling stations because some went to absentees or for early voting. On Tuesday, nearly 55,000 ballots were run through voting machines, representing about 27 percent of the registered voters. Many more ballots were cast, but the city can't say just how many yet, Gruenstein said. The 55,000 figure doesn't include thousands of absentee ballots or those of people who voted early or on a questioned ballot. 
Barbara Gruenstein
     People voting in polling places that ran out of ballots had to vote questioned ballots, even after additional ballots arrived, because the extra ballots were not programmed for the voting machines, said deputy city clerk Jacqueline Duke.

Read more here:
     The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is investigating and has set up a hot line, 263-2015, to help gather information to determine whether it needs to take action, said executive director Jeffrey Mittman, who said the organization wants to know if there were irregularities which disenfranchised voters.
     Complicating ballot shortages was blatant encouragement of voter fraud by Jim Minnery, leader of antigay Anchorage group Protect Your Rights. Minnery sent out an email Tuesday, accompanied by a similar posting on the organization's Facebook page, telling recipients they could register at the polls and vote immediately.
"Did you know that people can register and vote at the same location and it doesn't even have to be at their precinct location? PLEASE take a few minutes now and call or text or e-mail ONE MORE PERSON and remind them to get to any polling station to cast their NO vote on Prop. 5."
     Gruenstein claimed that ineligible voters voting in incorrect precincts drained polling places of ballots that could have been used by people who actually lived in said precincts.
Jim Minnery of the
Alaska Family Council
      The very first response to Protect Your Rights' false advice on facebook was a correction by a Prop 5 proponent. But the exhortation to commit what amounted to voter fraud stayed up and, according to Bent Alaska, the author of the correction was mocked by Protect Your Rights supporters, one of whom wrote:
Hey Joe go to your pervert website and help them!
     Minnery, in an email to his supporters Wednesday, claimed that someone had asked him whether registering and voting on Election Day was possible. He said he checked with the city clerk's office and was told it was allowed as long as the person had lived in Anchorage at least 30 days.
     Gruenstein said she later asked Minnery who he talked to and he couldn't provide a name.
     What Minnery also didn't provide was the admission that on February 17th, he sent an email to his supporters reminding them that they needed to register by March 4th in order to vote. In the intervening month Minnery apparently either developed amnesia, Alzheimer's or else decided to blatantly lie to his supporters in order to queer the election.
     On Wednesday evening Gruenstein said the extent of the shortage still was being assessed, but KTUU didn't wait — it published feedback from voters in the form of a list (below) and a Google map (above) of polling places which ran out of ballots:

Anchorage locations which ran out of ballots, as provided to KTUU by viewers and readers of the station's Facebook page:

Abbott Loop Elementary School
Alpenglow Elementary School
Bayshore Elementary School
Creekside Park Elementary School
Huffman Elementary School
Klatt Elementary School
Lake Hood Elementary School
Muldoon School
Scenic Park Elementary School
Spring Hill Elementary School
Taku Elementary School
Hanshew Middle School
Chugiak High School
Dimond High School
East High School
Service High School
Grace Christian School
Chugiak-Eagle River Library
Z.J. Loussac Public Library
St Elizabeth Catholic School
St Innocent Russian Orthodox
Anchorage School District
Anchorage Public Works
The Alaska Club South
Chester Valley Elementary School
Huffman Fire Station
UAA Building Anchorage, AK 99508
Chester Valley Elementary School
Sand Lake Elementary School
Wayland Baptist University
Eagle River Lions Club
Nunaka Valley Elementary School

Map comment: Add another in at Nunake Valley Elementary School, we ran out by 6:00

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