Election observers had questions, Mayor Bronson wants answers for irregularities in municipal election process

Mayor Dave Bronson has questions about how the last municipal election was handled — questions that have been raised by election observers and citizens, questions that have never been adequately answered. The mayor sent a letter to City Clerk Barbara Jones requesting a forensic audit of the technology and election processes used in the counting of the April ballots.

Bronson instructed the clerk’s office to preserve all documents, emails and other records related to his request for information. Some of his concerns were raised by volunteer observers during the April 5 election. The Assembly was informed of the observers’ concerns before they certified the election.

More specifically, the mayor asks the registry to send:

Why a seemingly unscheduled and unannounced visit from a technician from Dominion Voting Systems, or a third-party contractor for Dominion, was on site at the election center on April 19. A man by the name of Whu Leung showed up at the election center around 9 a.m. and appeared to open, plug in cables, insert USB drives, and/or modify or update software on the Dominion Voting Systems machine, according to election observers. This happened before the election was certified and before all ballots had arrived for counting.

Who was Leung working for? What was Mr. Leung doing at the election center on April 19? What functions did he perform? Were these functions requested by an election official and if so, who and why was the request made? Under what contract was Leung operating? These are some of the questions posed by volunteer observers that did not receive a satisfactory answer two weeks ago.

According to the mayor’s office, Leung inserted USB drives into Dominion Voting Systems’ tabulation machine. What was on those USB sticks? Why was a USB key needed to do the technical work that Leung was there for? Did the City Clerk’s Office perform a background check or similar research on Leung before he was allowed to modify, edit and possibly tamper with the critical voting infrastructure?

The mayor’s office also wants to know why many voters did not receive their ballots at home and whether the clerk’s office kept a log of all voters who called to report they had not received their ballot. What did the registry do to remedy the situation?

“In a particular observer complaint, filed April 3, 2022, Deputy Election Clerk Jamie Heinz said election officials may have identified an isolated issue where the 1941 and 1944 ballot styles came late or did not did not arrive at all. The Observer Complaint also acknowledges that additional 1941 and 1944 style ballots were sent to the Loussac Library to account for this potential issue,” the mayor’s office wrote.

Mail-in-only ballots were supposed to be sent to voters 21 days before the election. The mayor’s office wants to know if this happened, as it seems that many ballots did not arrive in time. When exactly were the ballots mailed?

There is also the question of the felt-tip pens used in the voting area of ​​the Loussac library on April 5, the last day of the election. The ballot instructs voters to use black or blue ink, but dry-erase pens were made available at the polling station, where people could mark their ballots and drop them in a box. These markers tended to smudge.

Observers also told the mayor’s office that there were more “undeliverable” ballots in the 2022 regular municipal elections compared to the 2021 regular municipal elections, although fewer ballots were cast. were sent by post. The mayor’s office wants to know exactly how many ballots were mailed and returned undelivered in 2021 and also in 2022, and what is the reason for the difference between the two numbers.

The letter sent to the clerk is a detailed request for public records that includes a bolded disclaimer at the bottom of each page stating that the mayor’s office is not alleging that the election results are inaccurate. The request is detailed and could take the Jones clerk several days or weeks to complete. It’s likely that Jones, who has a somewhat hostile approach toward the mayor’s team, will charge the mayor’s office a hefty fee for executing the public records request. His office is under the direction of the Anchorage Assembly, not the executive branch.

Melissa C. Keyes