Concerns grow over assuring rural vote will be counted

Nine legislators representing rural constituents are asking Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer to assure that Alaska Native communities will not be plagued by mishaps and confusion that could result in votes not being counted.

An example of concern cited in their letter of Oct, 13 is that 130 people residing in the traditional Yup’ik village of Mertarvik were denied the right to vote in the primary election because the Division of Elections is unaware they’d been living in a new location for the better part of a year.

The legislators told Meyer that the same report also found that election supplies were never delivered to Newtok, so only 17 of some 339 residents were able to vote.

Clark’s Point also was unable to hold a recent municipal election after the state failed to supply the community with poll workers, which is standard practice in many rural communities.

The letter was signed by Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, and Representatives Neal Foster, D-Nome; Sara Hannan, D-Juneau; Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka; John Lincolln, I-Kotzebue; Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan; Andi Story, D-Juneau; Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak; and Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel.