Anchorage voters recently experienced a municipal election where many were disenfranchised. The State of Alaska, in the upcoming State House District 13 primary election, has decided to follow suit and disenfranchise Muldoon voters. Given the recent redistricting controversies too, "Disenfranchisement" could soon become the state's motto.
I retired from the United States Army in 2000 and decided to live in Alaska after service. I've consistently enjoyed and appreciated Muldoon's neighborhoods, in particular, for the ethnic diversity, collective conservative values, families who made me feel at home there, local issues I have worked to resolve and other reasons.
Muldoon's proximity to JBER and VA facilities is important to me; this contributed to my decision to move. For over a decade, I have used the BX, Commissary, physical fitness facilities and programs at Elmendorf AFB. Through the years, I've tried to arrange for VA services. My involvement with East Anchorage extends at least seven years longer than my primary opponent has lived on the Alaska mainland.
The Division of Elections declined to review assorted documentation in support of my move to Muldoon, choosing an easier route to decertification.
As the lieutenant governor is where the "buck (should) stop," he must disallow the narrowing of the U.S. constitutional concept of domicile, because to do so is disenfranchising to District 13. Rather than allow an inquiry to explore my case further outside of court, the Elections staff insists on creating constitutional concepts that are not consistent with basic voter's rights and voting principles. Voter disenfranchisement appears to be the easier path.
According to Elections, solid "proof" of residency in Muldoon can be established as of Aug. 4, 2011. If I was not domiciled in District 13 in June and July of 2011 as I said I was, where was I domiciled other than Muldoon? Even my swimming "coach" can attest to my regular training regimen at JBER before I competed in the National VA Golden Age Games (and earned four medals).
Despite having been certified as a valid candidate for the Aug. 28 Republican primary ballot, despite spending months campaigning door to door and attending various forums, and despite my intention to reside in District 13 (military duty with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea prepared me for non-traditional living "in the field") for one year, as required by the Alaska Constitution, Elections decided that I am ineligible to run to represent my district in the state Legislature.
If the decision holds, District 13 voters who support my candidacy will not see my name as a choice on the ballot.
As I requested an extension to make all of my evidence available to Elections and, when not permitted one, later asked to appeal the Elections decision, both Elections personnel and the lieutenant governor declined to respond to most email inquiries. In a rare response from the director, she informed me that her decision was final and my only recourse is to take this to Superior Court. How many of us can hire an expensive lawyer for such purposes? I live primarily on my VA 80 percent service-connected disability pension and cannot even consider doing this. Why should I have to sue Alaska about this?
While my primary opponent is right to be extremely fearful of the need to challenge me before voters, it is the voters themselves, not unelected bureaucrats or candidates fearing opposition, who should be the arbiters of the next District 13 representative in the state House.
The lieutenant governor owes voters in District 13 a complete review of all the facts and documentation before allowing the decertification decision to stand.
In Anchorage, the deputy municipal clerk was fired and the municipal clerk resigned following a "botched" election.
What is next for our lieutenant governor? On Monday afternoon, he approached me to say he had not been involved at all with my decertification. He said he did not know anything about the decision-making process. He said he would look into the decision later that day -- unaware that he was already several weeks too late.
Barbara Bachmeier is a retired Army officer and was a candidate in the Republican primary for a state House seat representing East Anchorage before the Division of Elections ruled her ineligible.