"There is no proof the Democratic Party of Alaska misused absentee voter information, however, it cast a long shadow of doubt over the 2004 election and left voters worried that their constitutional right to privacy was somehow violated."
- Sen. Therriault
(Juneau) - Voters will not have to worry about the possibility of their personal information listed on an absentee ballot request being misused. Today Gov. Frank Murkowski signed SB 36 into law.
Sen. Gene Therriault (R - North Pole) authored the legislation after learning that the Alaska Democratic Party mailed out absentee ballot applications with the response card addressed to the party, instead of the Division of Elections during the 2004 election cycle. The party was obligated to forward the information to the Division of Elections.
Serious questions were raised once it was discovered that a voter's confidential information could be seen and used by someone besides elections officials. The issue grew even more serious when elections workers found that around 1,000 applications had been altered, possibly after they had been signed and mailed by the voter. That required the Division of Elections to spend time, money and resources verifying the information to prevent any abuse.
"There is no proof the Democratic Party of Alaska misused absentee voter information, however, it cast a long shadow of doubt over the 2004 election and left voters worried that their constitutional right to privacy was somehow violated. SB 36 closes that loophole for good," said Sen. Therriault.
SB 36 ensures a clean absentee voting process by requiring the applications be mailed directly to the Division of Elections. It also mandates the Elections Director to pre-approve absentee ballot request forms that do not come directly from the division.
The new law will be in effect for the 2006 primary and general statewide elections.
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"(l-r) Sen. Therriualt, Director Whitney Brewster, Gov. Murkowski"