Legislature(2021 - 2022)

2021-02-12 Senate Journal

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2021-02-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0209
SB 82                                                                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 82 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                                
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
                  "An Act relating to elections and election                                                                   
was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary, State Affairs and                                                        
Finance Committees.                                                                                                             
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Law                                                                                           
Governor's transmittal letter dated February 11:                                                                                
Dear President Micciche:                                                                                                        
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill authorizing the Attorney General                                                         
to investigate potential violations of election laws or regulations.                                                            

2021-02-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0210
This legislation would permit the Attorney General to investigate                                                               
alleged election violations identified by the director of the Division of                                                       
Elections, a member of the public, or by the Attorney General. A                                                                
member of the public may submit a complaint alleging a violation to                                                             
the Division of Elections within 30 days of the election or the                                                                 
violation, whichever is later. If the complaint alleges a violation of                                                          
AS 15.13, the Division will forward the complaint to the Alaska                                                                 
Public Offices Commission for further review. For other election                                                                
related allegations, the Division of Elections does a preliminary review                                                        
for completeness, requests missing information as necessary, and may                                                            
also dismiss complaints that are determined to be frivolous. Otherwise,                                                         
complaints are forwarded to the Attorney General for action.                                                                    
In investigating an allegation, the Attorney General has the authority                                                          
to compel witness testimony, issue subpoenas, and to produce                                                                    
documents or other evidence. The Attorney General also has the                                                                  
authority to hold hearings, administer oaths, make interrogatories,                                                             
require written affidavits, and examine documentary evidence. Upon                                                              
concluding an investigation, the Attorney General will share the                                                                
results with the Division of Elections. If the Attorney General                                                                 
determines a violation of an election law or regulation has occurred,                                                           
the Attorney General may bring a civil action to compel compliance                                                              
with the law. The information collected over the course of the                                                                  
investigation will remain confidential unless it is used as the basis for                                                       
a decision by the Division of Elections or is used in the civil action.                                                         
If the Attorney General brings a civil action in court, the Attorney                                                            
General may petition for, and the court may award the state, a civil                                                            
penalty of up to $25,000 per violation. The court may also award the                                                            
state reasonable attorney’s fees and investigation costs.                                                                       
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Mike Dunleavy