LWV of Alaska and its co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Alaska state court, asserting that the lack of a notice and cure process for errors on absentee ballots violated the Alaska Constitution’s guarantees of the right to vote and procedural due process.
Alaska allows all registered voters to request absentee ballots. Voters must sign the ballot envelope and provide their Social Security number, voter ID number, driver’s license number, or birthday, and have a witness sign the ballot envelope. If one of these requirements is not satisfied, the ballot will not be counted. Currently, Alaska does not notify voters if there are errors with their absentee ballot nor does the state provide a process for correcting such mistakes before the deadline to count ballots.
In the June 2022 primary, over 160,000 Alaskans voted using absentee ballots. Of these, over 7,400 were rejected, with the most common reasons being a lack of proper witnesses, no voter identification provided, and voters forgetting to sign the ballot envelope. Broken down by Alaska House districts, the areas with the highest percentage of rejected ballots were areas with high populations of indigenous Alaskans, with some areas experiencing double-digit percentages of ballot rejections. Indigenous Alaskans often live in isolated settlements without road access or regular public services.
On August 23, 2022, LWV Alaska, the Arctic Village Council, and two individual Alaskan voters filed a lawsuit in the Anchorage Superior Court, arguing that the lack of a notice and cure process for absentee ballots violated the Alaska Constitution’s guarantees of the right to vote and procedural due process.
LWV Alaska and its co-plaintiffs are represented by Perkins Coie, LLP, the ACLU of Alaska, ACLU, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
LWV Alaska files lawsuit
LWV of Alaska, the Arctic Village Council, and two Alaska voters bring a lawsuit in the Anchorage Superior Court, asserting the state's lack of a notice and cure process for absentee ballots violates the Alaska Constitution’s guarantee of the right to vote and procedural due process.
LWV Alaska files amended complaint
The League and its co-plaintiffs file an amended complaint, including data from the November 2022 election indicating areas with high Native Alaskan populations had a disproportionately high rate of absentee ballot rejection.
Court denies defendants' motion to dismiss
The court denies defendants' motion to dismiss, finding plaintiffs asserted sufficient facts to bring their lawsuit under the state constitution's protections of the right to vote and procedural due process.