The Dunleavy Administration has officially squashed hopes that it will pursue a broad vote at home effort anytime soon. The announcement by Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer that Alaska will not conduct a vote at home for the August primary.
The legislature provided the Administration with authority, but no mandate to conduct a statewide vote at home in its COVID-19 response legislation. Federal money has been allocated to the state to conduct vote at home. That the Dunleavy administration does not support statewide, broad vote at home provisions, thereby threatening the lives of Alaskan elders and vulnerable populations and populations of color, adds some clarity on why to vote on Recall.
Vote at-home systems are in place in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Utah, and Colorado, while Montana, Nevada, and Arizona allow voters to receive all ballots by mail. They are safe, secure, and have proven to increase voting. While language translation issues are an issue with vote-at-home that must be addressed for Alaska’s diverse population (language translation resources exist in communities at in-person voting locations, and this needs to be worked out for vote from home systems) they are the way to go, and the route the Administration should have taken.
Under the status quo in Alaska, a voter can request and receive a by-mail ballot without having to offer a reason. It is a two-step self-initiated process many may be unaware of right now. It is called “No-excuse Absentee.” The status quo voting system in Alaska does not, like a statewide vote-at-home system, require all Alaskan voters receive a ballot in the mail – which is the most sensible and precautionary approach to protect the health of voters and election workers during a pandemic. Sense and precaution seem fleeting and ephemeral these days, however.
This, friends, is why we are not wrong to look to our State Legislature for help and sanity. At least 67 people in Wisconsin have contracted COVID-19 because the state did not conduct a safe, vote-at-home spring election. Given a choice between potential exposure to COVID-19 vs. researching candidates, issues, and casting a vote from your kitchen table – it is hands down the latter in my book. It is common sense during a pandemic. That the legislature failed in the deepening dusk of the legislative session to pass some kind of vote-at-home mandate, and funding for it, is unfortunate. They can and should call themselves into a special session before the August Primary and pass legislation similar to HB 150, which establishes Vote at Home as the norm for Alaska.
In the meantime – here is my recommendation: Request a second-round Recall Dunleavy signature booklet by mail and Request your Absentee Ballot by mail.
The Recall Dunleavy campaign is redoubling efforts this spring to get the requisite 71,252 signatures for the recall question to appear on the ballot. You can do your part to hold this Governor to account by ordering your booklet online. https://recalldunleavy.org/ To request your absentee ballot for the August primary election, fill out this form http://www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/forms/C06C.pdf and mail it to the Division of Elections.
I will soon be signing off until August. While I am away, and I know it is hard to take any advice from a blogger, please remember: despite what the President of the United States says, do not take malaria medicine or disinfectant to prevent coronavirus.
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