This is a letter dated October 13, 2020 to the Honorable Kevin Meyer Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from Representatives of the Alaska State Legislature.
Dear Lt. Governor Meyer,
We write today to urge you to address a growing list of concerns from Alaskans who fear their vote will not get counted in the 2020 general election. While we can appreciate that we are in unprecedented and troubling times, we cannot dismiss the fact that this election cycle has been plagued with mishaps and confusion that have produced rejected ballots, lost votes and ultimately, will result in many voices in far flung communities that will go unheard.
We can agree the right to vote is a privilege. But there are several concerns that have been relayed to us that clearly encroach upon individual rights. It is critical we learn in a timely manner how the Division of Elections plans to ensure that every registered voter in Alaska gets to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming general election.
Among the infractions, it was brought to our attention that approximately 130 people residing in the traditional Yup’ik village of Mertarvik were denied the right to vote in the primary because the Division of Elections was unaware they’d been living in a new location for the better part of a year.
The same report also found that election supplies were never delivered to Newtok, so only 17 of approximately 339 residents were able to vote.
Clark’s Point was also unable to hold a recent municipal election after the state failed to supply the community with poll workers, which is standard practice in many rural communities.
What assurances can you provide to our Alaskan Native communities that they will not be forgotten and neglected during the upcoming general election? Please include in your response specific details, including a timeline, regarding the plans to supply every community with the means they will need to safely operate rural precincts and to educate rural voters, including the many who use English as a second language.
We look forward to your immediate response and transparent answers. These details will be critical to ensuring that all Alaskans have the right to fully participate in the fast approaching 2020 general election.
-Representatives Bryce Edgmon, Neal Foster, Tiffany Zulkosky, John Lincoln, Sara Hannan, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Louise Stutes, Dan Ortiz, and Andi Story of the Alaska State Legislature in Juneau, Alaska.