Legislature(2021 - 2022)
2021-02-18 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2021-02-18 House Journal Page 0154 HB 96 HOUSE BILL NO. 96 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to elections; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Judiciary, and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Office of the Governor The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 11 follows: "Dear Speaker Stutes: Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to election integrity (AS 15.07, 15.15, 15.20). This bill would provide additional tools for the 2021-02-18 House Journal Page 0155 Division of Elections to increase public trust in our elections. Ensuring the integrity of our elections is critical to the preservation of our democracy. This bill would strengthen and improve key aspects of Alaska’s election process specifically related to tabulation machine audits, voter signature verification, the costs associated with recounts, and mail-in-only voting in small communities. The Division of Elections needs more flexibility to conduct audits on the tabulation machines used to count votes. This bill would permit the division director to conduct additional hand counts and to audit more precincts as appropriate, to help ensure public confidence in the integrity of our election results. The bill would clarify that a voter’s signature and at least two voter identifiers are required on an absentee ballot envelope in order for that absentee ballot to be valid and counted. In addition, the bill would allow the director to set by regulation, the amount of money required to be put on deposit prior to a recount being initiated. That amount is currently set in statute. This will ensure that recount deposits are sufficient to cover the actual cost of conducting the recount. Finally, the bill would allow communities with populations of less than 750 to conduct elections exclusively by mail, instead of in- person. At times, including during the current COVID-19 pandemic, for health, safety, and other legitimate reasons, small communities in our state have been unable to open and operate physical polling locations. This bill would permit the Division of Elections to work cooperatively with these communities to determine alternative ways of ensuring every voter is able to exercise their right to vote. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure. Sincerely, /s/ Mike Dunleavy Governor"