Alaska Cure Procedures Challenge
Arctic Village Council v. Fenumiai
Lawsuit filed by the Arctic Village Council, League of Women Voters of Alaska and two voters against Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer (R) and the Alaska Division of Elections challenging the state’s refusal to address ballot curing problems that disenfranchised thousands of voters in the special primary election held in June. Notably, the special election held in June was Alaska’s first statewide “all-mail” election, meaning it was conducted using exclusively mail-in ballots. The plaintiffs allege that the Division of Elections rejected over 5,000 ballots cast during this election due to ballot envelope deficiencies that could have been cured (meaning fixed) had the plaintiffs been informed of these errors. These common but easily remedied errors include insufficient witnessing, a failure to provide a voter identification number or an identifier that did not match voter records and a missing voter signature. The plaintiffs argue that the Division of Elections’ failure to notify voters of rejected ballots until after the election was certified rendered any eventual notification “meaningless” since voters were ultimately unable to correct inadvertent ballot errors and have their votes counted. The plaintiffs explain how voters from Alaska Native American communities are disproportionately disenfranchised by the Division of Elections’ refusal to permit ballot curing. The complaint asserts that the defendants’ rejection of ballots without providing curing opportunities violates the rights to vote and due process guaranteed under the Alaska Constitution. The plaintiffs ask the court to stop the defendants from implementing the witness, signature and identification requirements for mail-in ballots without also allowing voters to cure errors and have their votes counted.