The Municipal Clerks’ Office in their April 7, 2021 press release noted an “additional issue” that contributed, among other things, to slow processing on Election Day:
“After continuing to investigate and review the low number – 10,606 – of votes cast on Election Day, we discovered one additional issue that slowed down our processing in addition to the late arrival of many ballot envelopes as well as the typical issues on Election Day.
This issue involved corrections or stray marks on a large number of scanned ballots. Although there were various combinations, many of these ballots had the oval next to the selected candidate filled in, yet the ovals of all of the other candidates were also filled in and crossed off. It wasn’t until the MOA Elections Team tabulated the results on Election Night and completed our review tonight that we understood that this much larger number of ballots were sequestered and awaiting adjudication, or human review, resulting in the low number of total votes cast on Election Night.”
Word of the “large number of scanned ballots” began circulating on social media, drawing the attention of Alaska AFL-CIO President Joelle Hall, who wrote:
“Reading between the lines- some group colluded in an attempt to hurt our election process. They did it on purpose. They should be ashamed of themselves. It’s unAmerican.”
Attorney Scott Kendall responded to Hall seemingly cautioning against a jump to conclusions, writing he thought it was “unclear as yet,” but indicated that the sheer number of mis-marked ballots needed to bring the tabulation of ballots to a halt “might imply it was a coordinated effort.”
Anchorage Assemblyman Christopher Constant responded to Mr. Kendall alleging he himself had seen a potentially related post and had “one screencap” of it. Mr. Constant also seemed to allude that other screenshots were being gathered, which might shed light on whether the “large number of ballots” that were previously sequestered by the Clerk’s office was an organized effort to “hurt the election process.”
In a separate Twitter response, Anchorage Assemblyman Constant wrote that he “saw posts made in social media hives of villainy saying this is exactly what they planned to do. It was intentional. Sad.”
When asked by an Anchorage resident whether the alleged effort was to ensure a hand recount because they didn’t trust the machines, Mr. Constant responded on Twitter:
It remains unclear whether the “large number of ballots,” many of which “had the oval next to the selected candidate filled in, yet the ovals of all of the other candidates were also filled in and crossed off,” according to the Municipal Clerks Office — was indeed the result of some organized attempt by a group of individuals to “hurt our election process,” or merely accidental, coincidental or a phenomenon.
Anchorage residents should take great pride and have great faith that our elections are transparent and secure.
In a further series of Twitter exchanges on April 8, 2021, a redacted screenshot was posted during a back and forth exchange on the social media platform, purporting to show a comment made by a social media user under a post related to the social media account of the Dave Bronson for Mayor’s campaign.
The screenshot, which I have verified, was posted to the Dave Bronson for Mayor Facebook page recently and reads: “We have our 2 votes in for you! Crossed off the liberal opponent on our ballots. Praying today is a change for us all!!”