Meyer announces he'll not seek reelection while unveiling elections reform bill

    Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer (Left) along with Governor Dunleavy at previous event

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer will not seek re-election next year.

    Meyer made his announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon to unveil legislation the administration plans to introduce next session that is dubbed the Election Integrity Bill that in part provides the Division of Elections more tools to ensure a more secure system.

    He said it's important that he  be impartial to meet the election challenges of 2022 without any appearance of bias or conflict
    Meyer said during the press conference that his overarching goal is to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.

    Here are some of the key provisions:

    The measure calls for changing the automatic voter registration system for those who apply for a Permanent Fund Dividend.  Applicants would have to request voter registration instead.

    Greater Division of Elections review would be required of certain records including deceased voters, voters registered in other states, and certain felony convictions, among others.  The division would be required to consult experts to audit the list of registered voters and issue a report every other year.

    There will be provisions aimed at increasing transparency of the process for election observers and an improved ballot counting process to ensure accuracy.  A toll-free election offense hotline would be created to allow voters to report questionable activity they may see at the polls.  Another provision calls for the acquisition of new signature verification equipment.

    The bill gives voters the option to request an absentee ballot for a 4-year window application, instead of a permanent absentee option.

    The bill provides voters the option to fix any minor errors to their ballot by establishing ballot curing.

    Working in conjunction with smaller communities and villages, this bill gives the Division of Elections the ability to mail ballots should it be required to give some Alaskans the chance to vote, even during a pandemic.

    The bill will require new regulations for routine forensic examinations and chain of custody protocols for tabulators to be created and followed. When questions arise, there will be tools set forth to ensure an accurate accounting of election results.

    The bill introduces a more thorough definition of crimes around election fraud and election interference that will provide clarity in the case of unlawful interference with voting.

    The bill also sets up future training for police officers on election offenses, so if they are called upon to investigate these new crimes, they have the training to complete the investigation appropriately.

    Governor Dunleavy joined Meyer during the press conference and called on the Legislature to act sooner rather than later
    given the fact, the elections are less than a year away.

    The Governor asked that the bill be on his desk within the first thirty days of the session.

     

     

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