Stealing an Alaska Election, Part 2: Fraud and Irregularity

To be sure, it is not unusual to hear complaints raised by a losing candidate about foul play. The frequency of such claims tends to inoculate the populace against the requisite moral outrage that the gravity of the charges may demand. In 2010, we were not unaware of the risks involved in speaking out about the issues we were confronted with, but decided that if Joe was going to talk about reform, he needed to stand up and be counted when circumstance demanded it.

In the days following the election (click HERE for Part 1 of “Stealing an Alaska Election”), we received numerous reports of fraud, intimidation, and abuse of the electoral system. In many instances, the complaints came from folks who were not willing to come out of the shadows for fear of retaliation. There were those who believed their jobs or livelihood to be at risk, many feared social alienation, and some even feared violent retribution. The anonymous nature of some of these reports made them impossible to address, but the volume of complaints convinced us that there was likely fire behind the smoke.

In addition, there were other more public manifestations, some of which were documented. One such incident was taped by a federal contractor on Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks. The video was played on The Mike Huckabee Show on Fox News. In it the job supervisor essentially urged workers and contractors to vote for Lisa Murkowski. It was an illegal act.

Soon after the election, I received a similar complaint from multiple State of Alaska employees reporting that Alaska State Public Employee Unions were sending endorsement emails to State computers. In the emails forwarded to me, there wasn’t an explicit endorsement in the US Senate race, but there were veiled references to Joe Miller. For instance, they urged public employees not to vote for candidates who would cut federal spending. What made it so transparent was that Joe was the only candidate running on such a platform. They might as well have used his name.

A sworn affidavit from an Anchorage resident reported that he was one of the first voters at his precinct, Sand Lake Elementary School, at 6:45 a.m. When the polls opened around 7:00 a.m., he entered the voting area and filled out his ballot. When he returned to feed his ballot into the Diebold scanner, he witnessed DOE workers examining a jammed machine with the ballot box opened, revealing a sizable pile of ballots in the box which “number[ed] in the hundreds . . . 4 to 5 inches thick.” His conclusion was that the fix was in.

Another supporter from Western Alaska sent in a picture of his polling place with a Murkowski campaign sign propped up against the building beside the entrance, a clear violation of electioneering laws.

We also received reports of teenagers enrolled in the Job Corps program being bussed to the polls to cast questioned ballots for Murkowski. One poll worker overheard one of the kids say that they were headed to another location to do the same thing.

Another report coming out of a rural fishing community detailed how known foreign workers from the fish plant were being trucked to the polls to vote. We were never able to substantiate the claim, but it clearly heightened our concerns.

Not long after the election, we received a phone call from a police officer who suspected voter fraud in his locale. He suggested we check into the situation and offered a list of folks he knew to be ineligible to vote due to fact that they were either incompetents, or unqualified felons. We were told that if the people on his list had voted, we had a significant fraud problem. The names were forwarded to Randy DeSoto who happened to be in Juneau reviewing voter logs at the time. All of the names were on the voter rolls, and all supposedly signed the register indicating that they had indeed voted.

This prompted further investigation of the only list of convicted felons we could readily get our hands on, the State’s sex offender registry. A comparative analysis of the registry with DOE records affirmed more than 700 soft matches, and in excess of 500 moderate to strong matches out of 2800 sex offenders. Hence the much-publicized charge of a universe of illegal felon voters. The sex offender registry represents only 12% of the State’s felon population.

The Alaska Department of Law and DOE officials vociferously denied there was a problem with illegal felon voting in spite of the fact that it is a matter of public record. The sex offender registry and voter records reveal that categories of felons that cannot legally have their rights restored did indeed vote. The press has never reported the facts.

We have stepped up our efforts to uncover the extent of the problem, but the State of Alaska continues to dissemble and obstruct. Apparently, it would be insufferable to just admit that there are problems, and address them. With a compliant ally in the press that is deeply invested in the defeat of Joe Miller, and Lisa Murkowski’s personal friend over the Division of Elections, it is likely the State will never come clean.

In the spring of 2011 there was a story in the headlines of the Anchorage Daily News of an illegal alien, Rafael Mora-Lopez, who served on the Anchorage Police force for six years before he was discovered. He was subsequently charged with multiple federal crimes. The story hit the Drudge Report on the day it came out. It was never mentioned in the Alaska press that the illegal alien had voted three times in 2010, and numerous other times in the past, all felonies in Alaska. The Alaska Department of Law, presumably in an attempt to conceal their false claims relating to a universe of illegal voters, has declined to press charges. It is unclear what the extent of the illegal alien voting problem may be, but we are aware of others who are politically active.

After the completion of the vote count in Juneau, we decided to also examine the voter logs in select precincts where we suspected there might be fraud and irregularity. That was followed by further review of the remaining precincts when we found significant irregularities and anomalies. We uncovered many other problems relating to the 2010 elections.

For example, despite a statutory requirement, there were several thousand ballots cast by voters whose identities had apparently not been confirmed by DOE poll workers, covering at least 286 of 438 precincts statewide. At the very least, there was no record in the voter logs revealing confirmation of identity. Thousands more were ostensibly personally identified without showing proof of identification. Most were not required to vote by questioned ballot, as a plain reading of the statutory text would require.

I personally witnessed at least one precinct where the voter logs were tallied on every page, but after the final tally new signatures had been added, making voter totals at the bottom of numerous pages incorrect. It appeared the signatures were added after the election.

In an Anchorage precinct I reviewed, there was a discrepancy of 498 ballots between the number used and votes cast. In another, there were 49 ballots that DOE records couldn’t account for. It is unclear how many of the precincts had similar problems. We have no way of knowing whether those ballots found their way back into the system somewhere else.

In many precincts, the DOE failed to keep a record of how many ballots were actually used, a troubling situation that is further exacerbated by the fact that Alaska Statute allows for extra ballots to be destroyed on site at the precinct level. It is a practice that all but invites fraud. Unbelievably, all that is required of poll workers is that they sign the envelope the logs are sent back in, verifying that the extra ballots were destroyed. Such signatures were missing from several precinct records. Under such a regime, a reliable post-election audit is impossible.

There were also significant numbers of precincts with discrepancies between the number of signatures on the registry and that of votes cast. In some cases there were too many signatures, possibly indicative of missing ballots. In other cases there were not enough signatures, suggesting that more ballots were cast than the number of persons who voted.

A significant number of precincts were missing the original tapes with Election Day tallies of the vote count on them. When we requested to see them, the Director eventually brought in tapes for us to review. But they were not the originals, as they had the date from that day printed right on the tape. Without the originals, there was no way of knowing that the totals were the same as Election Day totals. A former legislator who lives in Anchorage approached me after the election to tell me her daughter was a poll worker at an Anchorage precinct where the original tapes were carried out the door on election night rather than sent in to DOE with the ballots.

There were precincts where the tapes from the touch screen voting machines were missing as well. Under such circumstances, there is no way to conduct an audit, or to confirm that the numbers comport with Election Day totals. Reviewers reported touch screen tapes with all the Murkowski votes spelled flawlessly. One would expect spelling accuracy on the touch screen tapes to reflect what we saw on the physical ballots.

In addition, there were instances of duplicate signature types in the review logs, but we never raised the issue because we only had evidence of a few dozen occurrences. The design of the voter logs complicated further analysis to see if there might have been a larger problem, making the scope of the task prohibitive.

Though the DOE insisted ballot security was not a problem, on numerous occasions during our review I noticed the door to the room where ballots were stored standing ajar. Sometimes DOE employees were visible, but on other occasions I didn’t see anybody around. I believe I could have carried a box of ballots out the door, or placed an extra box of ballots inside the room and DOE officials would have been none the wiser.

On another occasion during our review, I called a volunteer out of the room to speak with him privately. He proceeded to inadvertently carry a DOE precinct register out of the office suite without detection and I had to tell him to take it back in before we proceeded with our conversation. It’s a good thing we were trustworthy, because the DOE monitor never noticed it, coming or going.

Many precincts didn’t have the requisite number of poll workers, or at least they never signed the register.

The deficiencies in Alaska’s election system should raise grave concerns about the integrity of the vote. How are we supposed to have confidence in a system that allows for widespread irregularity and renders a reliable audit impossible? It is a travesty of justice to allow such a system to stand.

Every ballot printed for the Division of Elections should be returned after the election to a central location, and the chain of custody should be at least as sacrosanct as that of cash at a bank. Every ballot should be accounted for, and DOE workers should be held personally responsible for missing ballots. There is no good reason for the laxity I observed at the Division of Elections. It is an invitation to fraud.

Click HERE for Part 3 of “Stealing an Alaska Election”