Legislature(2023 - 2024)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/07/2023 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
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**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
              SB   1-ELECTIONS: BALLOT, VOTING, SECURITY                                                                    
SB   1-ELECTIONS: BALLOT, VOTING, SECURITY                                                                                  
4:41:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KAWASAKI announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 1                                                                 
"An  Act relating  to  election  security,  voting,  and  ballots;  and                                                         
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
4:42:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   MIKE  SHOWER,   District   O,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                          
Juneau,   Alaska,  sponsor   of  SB   1,  stated   that  many  of   the                                                         
provisions  in  SB 1  are similar   to those  in SB  19.  They reflect                                                          
the  bipartisan    efforts  to   improve   the  elections   system   in                                                         
Alaska.  SB  1 addresses   over  registration,  ballot  tracking,   and                                                         
ballot   curing.   The  intent   is  make   the  system   as  fair   as                                                         
possible,  has  processes  to catch  fraud, and  restore  faith in  the                                                         
elections   system.   He   deferred   to   Scott   Ogan   for  further                                                          
introduction of SB 1.                                                                                                           
4:45:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT    OGAN,   Staff,    Senator    Mike   Shower,    Alaska    State                                                         
Legislature,   Juneau,  Alaska,  provided   a high  level   summary  of                                                         
the sponsor statement for SB 1. It read as follows:                                                                             
        Senate   Bill  1  was  drafted  to  address  concerns   with                                                            
        chain  of  custody,  ballot  security,  reporting   election                                                            
        offenses,   preserving   forensic   integrity  of   ballots,                                                            
        multi   factor   authentication    ballot   curing,   ballot                                                            
        tracking,    cybersecurity    and   Legislative   Council's                                                             
        authority to contract with technical experts.                                                                           
        This  measure   is  part  of   the  bill  sponsor's   policy                                                            
        metric  to  make  it  easy  to  vote,  yet  hard  to  cheat.                                                            
        When   voting  policy   makes   it  easier   to  vote,   the                                                            
        downside  is  to  make it  easier  to  cheat.  This  creates                                                            
        the  public perception   that our  sacred right  to  vote is                                                            
        ripe  for  fraud  and  undermines  voter  confidence.   When                                                            
        voting  policy  is to  make  it harder  to cheat,  it  makes                                                            
        it  harder  to  vote.  This  bill  attempts   to  apply  the                                                            
        policy  metric  of  making  it easy  to  vote,  yet hard  to                                                            
        cheat, which most people can agree upon.                                                                                
        Ballot  chain  of custody  protocols  must  be strengthened                                                             
        to  assure every  ballot  gets tracked  from  printer  until                                                            
        22  months after  the  election.  Destroying  extra  ballots                                                            
        in  precincts  exposes  the  election  system  to plausible                                                             
        fraud by destroying forensic integrity of said ballot.                                                                  
        There  is  no widely  published  election   offense  system,                                                            
        nor  is  there   anyone  tasked   with  being  an   election                                                            
        fraud  expert  in the  Department  of  Law or  the  Division                                                            
        of  Elections.  Election  laws are  complex  and confusing.                                                             
        Creating   an   election    offense   hotline   with   staff                                                            
        trained  in  understanding   potential   fraud  issues  will                                                            
        keep people accountable and build public confidence.                                                                    
   MR. OGAN  described  multi-factor   authentication   and advised  that                                                       
   more  information   was  in  the  bill  packets.  SB  1  requires  the                                                       
   director  to  write   and  implement  a  cybersecurity   plan  and   it                                                      
   authorizes   Legislative   Council  to   hire  technical   experts   to                                                      
   conduct forensic audits to verify the security of an election.                                                               
   4:51:24 PM                                                                                                                 
   CHAIR  KAWASAKI  turned to  Jim  Stocker who  was  invited  to provide                                                       
   testimony  by  the  sponsor's  office.  He  summarized  Mr.  Stocker's                                                       
   biography,  which  includes  some  months  of citizen  involvement   on                                                      
   voting issues.                                                                                                               
   4:51:52 PM                                                                                                                 
   JIM STOCKER,  representing   self, Palmer,  Alaska,  provided  invited                                                       
   testimony  in support  of SB  1. He described  SB  1 as a  great start                                                       
to  restore  system   integrity  and  voter   confidence.  He  relayed                                                          
that  he had  provided  front-line  testimony  the  last  seven months                                                          
about  Alaska's  voting  system  and  his  perception  was  that  voter                                                         
confidence  was  crashing.  He said  this  was reflected   in the  poll                                                         
numbers   for  the  last  election.   He  relayed   that  his  current                                                          
effort  was   focused  on  gathering   signatures   to  eliminate   the                                                         
voter  initiative  for ranked  choice  voting.  He also  recounted  his                                                         
efforts  in  the  MatSu  Valley  to  eliminate   the  use of  Dominion                                                          
voting machines.                                                                                                                
MR. STOCKER  described  the  four major  concern  of voters  he speaks                                                          
to.  These  are  ranked  choice  voting,   Dominion  voting  machines,                                                          
the  reason it  takes  so long  to count  votes  and voter  rolls,  and                                                         
why   the   state  uses   the   nonprofit,    nonpartisan   Electronic                                                          
Registration  Information   Center (ERIC)  system.  He said  he'd  just                                                         
become  aware  that  states  like   Missouri,  Florida,  and  Virginia                                                          
announced they would no longer use this system.                                                                                 
4:55:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BJORKMAN requested an explanation of the ERIC system.                                                                   
MR.   STOCKER   said  ERIC   is  the   acronym   for  the   Electronic                                                          
Registration   Information   Center  whose  objective   is to  improve                                                          
the accuracy  of  voter registration.   He said  it's obvious  that  it                                                         
doesn't   work   because   the   numbers   don't   match   and  former                                                          
President  Trump  has  encouraged  GOP  governors  to  stop  using  the                                                         
system.  He encouraged   people  who were  interested  to  look at  who                                                         
founded  and funded  ERIC.  He continued   that if  he were  to make  a                                                         
statement   based  on  pure   conjecture,   he'd  say  the  system   is                                                         
4:56:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BJORKMAN  asked if  it was  his understanding   that the  ERIC                                                         
system  provided  a  way  for  states  to track  whether   people  were                                                         
also  registered   to  vote   in  another  state   so  they  could   be                                                         
removed from the voter rolls.                                                                                                   
MR.  STOCKER  said that's  the  objective  but it's  not  working.  His                                                         
belief  is  that  in Alaska  there  are  more  ballots  sent  out  than                                                         
the  number of  registered  voters  on the  rolls  and it  seems to  be                                                         
that  way  in  other  states.   He  acknowledged  that   he  wasn't  an                                                         
expert and encouraged the committee to take a deeper look.                                                                      
4:57:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BJORKMAN  asked  if  there  was  a  timeline  states  have  to                                                         
follow  before  they  remove  someone  if  they  are not  found  to  be                                                         
registered in another state.                                                                                                    
   MR. STOCKER said he don't know.                                                                                              
   SENATOR  BJORKMAN  said  it  would  be  interesting  to  know  whether                                                       
   the ERIC  system  speeds the  process  for removing  someone  from the                                                       
   voter rolls.                                                                                                                 
   4:58:21 PM                                                                                                                 
   MR. OGAN  offered  his  understanding  that  plus or  minus  30 states                                                       
   participate   in  the  ERIC  system.   What  it  does   is  crosscheck                                                       
   whether  or not  people  are  registered  to  vote  in another  state.                                                       
   He  the  Public   Interest   Legal  Foundation   has  developed   best                                                       
   practices  for  a  50-state  solution.   It  uses  more  databases   to                                                      
   update voter rolls.                                                                                                          
   4:59:09 PM                                                                                                                 
   SENATOR  SHOWER  added that  ERIC  has a  twofold  problem.  First,  it                                                      
   violates  the  National  Voting  Rights  Act of  1964  and second,   it                                                      
   isn't  a government   entity  so  there  is no  oversight  from  state                                                       
   government.   He continued   that  without   a  true  forensic  audit,                                                       
   nobody  can say  definitively  that  there  was  or was  not  fraud  in                                                      
   the last  election.  He concluded  that  the goal  of SB 1  goal is  to                                                      
   do better with elections.                                                                                                    
   5:01:17 PM                                                                                                                 
   SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   asked   whether  the  Division   of  Elections                                                       
   (DOE) would appear before the committee again on Thursday                                                                    
   CHAIR  KAWASAKI   confirmed  that   the  committee   would  hear  from                                                       
   several elections officials on Thursday.                                                                                     
   SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   said   he'd  be  interested   in  hearing  the                                                       
   division  discuss  the  concerns  that  have  been  articulated  today                                                       
   and whether   they merit  further  scrutiny.   He emphasized   that  if                                                      
   the  claims  are  accurate   they  need  to  be  fixed,  and  if  they                                                       
   aren't accurate the public should be informed.                                                                               
   5:02:54 PM                                                                                                                 
   SENATOR  MERRICK  asked  the  sponsor  to describe   a forensic  audit                                                       
   and how it differs from a regular audit.                                                                                     
   SENATOR  SHOWER   clarified   that  the  term  was   a  risk  limiting                                                       
   audit.  It  entails  a look  into  the  system  to  determine  whether                                                       
   people   on   the    voter   rolls    are   actually    eligible   and                                                       
   appropriately registered to vote.                                                                                            
   5:05:12 PM                                                                                                                 
MR. OGAN directed attention to a document in the packet titled                                                                  
"De-weaponizing and Standardizing the Post-Election Audit" that                                                                 
outlines the parameters for credible audits.                                                                                    
CHAIR KAWASAKI thanked the sponsor and other participants and                                                                   
held SB 1 in committee.                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 1 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 1 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 1 backup documents1 Fl.election. integrity.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 1 backup documents2 election.cybersecurity.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 1 backup documents3 chain. of.custody.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 1 backup documents4 post.election.audits.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 19.Sponsor.Statement.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
Sectional analysis SB 19.pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 Testimony NVAHI 03.07.2023 (003).pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SD AK SB 1 SB 19 Testimony 3.2023 (003).pdf SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 19
An Open Letter From ERIC.docx SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
Why does Alaska have a 106% voter registration rate.docx SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB0001A.PDF SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB0019A.PDF SSTA 3/7/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 19