Alaska Supreme Court to hear arguments Monday in case over witness signature requirements for absentee ballots

JUNEAU — The Alaska Supreme Court plans to hear arguments Monday in a case challenging witness requirements for absentee ballots.

Attorneys for the state asked the court to review the matter after Superior Court Judge Dani Crosby this week ruled enforcement of the witness requirements during a pandemic “impermissibly burdens the right to vote.” Crosby did not immediately put into effect an order eliminating the requirement and asked the two sides to propose how the Division of Elections should implement the decision.

The two sides agreed to a stay while the Supreme Court considers the matter, with the state agreeing to make preparations should the state lose the case, according to court records.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs — Arctic Village Council; League of Women Voters of Alaska; and two individuals who have cited health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic — argued the witness requirement is a bar to voting for those who don’t live with someone who is at least 18 years old and can act as a witness.

Attorneys for the state contend a change in process now could create voter confusion and distrust in the Division of Elections.