June 11, 2020
The Honorable Kevin Meyer Lieutenant Governor of Alaska P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001
Dear Lt. Governor Meyer,
We are writing this letter to inquire about how the Office of the Governor plans to spend the $3.1 million in Elections Support Funds allocated from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Based on communications from your office on COVID-19 Response, Election Support Funds are used to, “support modifications to the current elections process in light of the COVID19 public health crisis.”
Alaskans should not have to choose between their health and their right to participate in the Democratic process. We are requesting that your administration use the $3.1 million in Election Support Funds to send ALL registered voters in Alaska an absentee ballot request form via mail in time to ensure participation in the August primary election. This will ensure that every Alaskan is aware they have the option to vote by mail or in person and removes barriers they might have to filling out an absentee ballot request form.
Currently, an individual who wants to request an absentee ballot has to fill out the PDF application electronically, print it, sign it, and send it to the Division of Elections. Taking one step out of this process by mailing the form out will increase participation and reduce the administrative burden on Alaskans. Given geographic constraints and internet connectivity in many communities across the state, we feel sending absentee ballot applications by mail to every registered voter is a critical use of these funds.
We respectfully request answers to the following questions:
1. In SB 241 which was signed into law on May 18th, 2020, it states the Director of the Division of Elections, “…shall inform the public by means including mail, electronic mail, telephone, social media, public service announcements, radio advertisements, television advertisements, web announcements, or print media.” If these funds are NOT utilized to send absentee mail ballot applications, what is the Division’s plan to inform the public about this option?
2. If your administration decides to go in another direction with this funding, we would like to see a plan on how the Division of Elections intends to utilize these funds.
3. What is your plan for closing precincts, if there are precincts that you are unable to staff in light of COVID-19? We request the Division of Elections makes a list at least 30 days before the Primary and General elections with all precinct closures. Will these voters be notified? Will they automatically be mailed a request for an absentee ballot request form?
4. We request that notice of precinct openings and closures is sent out 45 days for rural Alaska residents, given unique time lapses in mail delivery.
Thank you for your service to our state, and consideration of these requests and questions. We stand ready to work with you and your administration to guarantee safe, fair, and secure elections in Alaska.