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Politics

Alaska Supreme Court won’t require state to notify absentee voters of rejected ballots before Election Day

  • Author: James Brooks
  • Updated: October 24
  • Published October 23

The Alaska Supreme Court will not require the Alaska Division of Elections to notify voters before Election Day if their absentee ballots have been rejected.

In a brief order Friday, the state’s high court said it will not review a lower-court order that denied a preliminary injunction sought by two progressive groups and a Sitka man.

Elections officials had tentatively marked 217 ballots for complete rejection and another 323 for partial rejection, according to a daily count published Friday morning. That’s less than four-tenths of 1% of all absentee ballots returned so far.

Rejections will not be confirmed until the state’s absentee ballot review board begins meeting next week.

State law requires that the voters of rejected ballots be notified within 30 days after the general election results are certified.

The Alaska Center Education Fund, Alaska Public Interest Research Group and Floyd Tompkins of Sitka had asserted that the state was interpreting the law incorrectly. They sought an order requiring the state to set up a program akin to that used by the Municipality of Anchorage and City and Borough of Juneau.

In those cities' by-mail elections, voters may correct signature errors before officials make a final decision on rejection.

State ballots are generally rejected because voters failed to follow one or more instructions required by law.

The Alaska Supreme Court has suspended the requirement that absentee voters have a witness co-sign their ballot, but voters are still required to sign their own ballot and follow other instructions.

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