Voters at West Anchorage polling station briefly without paper ballots after election worker forgot them

Voters at one Anchorage polling place arrived Tuesday morning to find that no papers ballots were available because an election worker had forgotten them at home.

At the Romig Middle School polling location, election officials realized the problem shortly after the polls opened at 7 a.m., said Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Division of Elections.

"The chairperson had realized they'd made a human mistake," she said.

The chairperson left the polling place to get the ballots and returned by 7:30 a.m., Miller said.

During that time, people arriving to vote were told they could vote using a touch screen, she said. Those votes are counted as regular ballots.

Election workers are trained to offer sample ballots usually used for demonstration as a backup if regular ballots run out or are otherwise unavailable.

"That didn't happen (in this case), we're not sure why," Miller said.


Miller said she didn't know how many people were at Romig to vote during the half-hour period when paper ballots were not available, but "voting in some fashion was continuing there."

"We identified an issue, worked to fix it and we're moving on to the next issue," she said.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.