Remember standardized testing when you were a kid? You'd fill in those ovals with that Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 until your eyes bugged out. Schools provided "smart snacks" of carrots and apples on testing days.
Now imagine if they let you grade the tests.
I'm sure you're good, honest folks, but what a horrible position to put you in. "Oh, I knew this answer, I just forgot."
That's basically what Anchorage Assembly chair Ernie Hall and the "election commission" appointed by Mayor Dan Sullivan, did this week.
They graded their own performance on a debacle of an election and said, "There's nothing to see, nothing wrong, and we don't want anyone else to grade us either!"
Ernie Hall is pushing for certification of one of the most troubled elections in recent history. Under his leadership, city officials are running out the clock and attempting to wear down the masses. The deputy clerk, Jacqueline Duke, has become the Katherine Harris of Anchorage. Her direction to poll workers to "ignore integrity seals" on the Diebold voting machine memory cards is egregious. What's the point of integrity in an election when you direct workers to ignore it? Duke, a former Chili's employee, is the "programmer" of those machines since the elimination of the election supervisor several years ago.
The same machines Alaska uses were decertified by California. California officials sued the manufacturer for selling them defective and easy-to-hack software. Hey, did we get ours on eBay? Our election commissioner, Gwen Matthews, told the Assembly: "Those are amazing machines -- utterly amazing. It is impossible for them to go haywire. They are highly accurate. I think that I could almost say that they're totally accurate. I've never found a discrepancy."
Apparently she hasn't ever Googled the machines to which we entrust our elections.
Just last month, a paper-ballot optical scan system at an election in Palm Beach County, Fla., made winners of several losing candidates. Two of three elections flipped after a hand count. The third showed the computer count off by 8 percent.
"You can get as 'conspiracy theory' as you want," Deputy Municipal Clerk Duke told Brad Friedman, an election integrity watchdog who has been tracking elections nationally for years.
You'd have thought he'd asked her for Ranch Dressing on the side rather than whether she was aware of the decade-long issues with voting machines across the country.
Nothing to see. Move along.
Poor instructions encouraging security breaches at election-worker trainings, ballot shortages at more than half the precincts, broken chain-of-custody of ballots, Jim Minnery intentionally emailing false information to voters, pollster Dave Dittman stating he'd never seen polls so far off the actual results and a complete lack of accountability and transparency from the agency involved are just a few reasons not to certify this election.
Another red flag:
In 2007, Parks and Rec propositions passed. The defenders of the second-hand smoke ordinance and the School Bonds YES folks -- progressive groups --- helped pass the school bonds, the Parks and Rec bonds, and fend off the repeal of the second-hand smoke ordinance.
That was the last time a Parks and Rec bond passed, until now.
In 2008, school bonds and pro-pool people showed up and voted in three progressive assembly candidates, turning the political tide of that body.
In 2009, there were no school bonds. Parks and Rec Bonds were voted down by the same conservatives who voted for Sullivan.
In 2010, the public transit bond ended up under the bus and conservatives took control of the Assembly.
In 2011, school and Parks & Rec bonds lost again, by more than 60 percent. Now comes 2012 and suddenly Parks and Rec bonds pass by more than 60 percent? This is only possible if 12,564 NO on 5 voters voted in favor of Parks and Rec bonds. That is so unlikely as to be considered an anomaly. What is more likely is that the YES on 5 voters showed up in droves and voted for Parks and Rec bonds. I think the Proposition 3 vote reflects the actual profile of the Prop 5 results. How to account for the difference? That is precisely why we need an investigation despite the election commission's finding to the contrary.
The paper ballots cast will be destroyed 30 days after certification. What's wrong with a good ol' fashioned hand count? I'll tell you. Alaska has no way to audit unused ballots. There's no way to do a complete audit.
Have I mentioned yet that not one issue on said ballot, or candidate, means a hill of beans to me when election integrity has clearly been breached?
Quick, get wet blankets. There's still time. This vote must not be certified until there's been an bona fide independent investigation.
Thousands of Anchorage residents are losing faith in the electoral system. If Ms. Duke and the commission have nothing to hide, they should welcome a chance to prove their integrity. Otherwise, I think they protest too much.
Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio. Her weekly TV show airs Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. statewide on ABC affiliates KYUR in Anchorage, KATN in Fairbanks and KJUD in Juneau.