Chapter 5.20
OPERATION OF POLLS

Sections:

5.20.010    Election officials.

5.20.020    Opening of polling place.

5.20.030    Voter registration.

5.20.040    Voter identification at polls.

5.20.050    Persons not on official registration list.

5.20.060    Providing ballot to voter.

5.20.070    Assisting voter.

5.20.080    Spoiled ballots.

5.20.090    Placing ballot in ballot box.

5.20.100    Questioning procedure.

5.20.110    Closing of the polls.

5.20.120    Voters in line when polls close.

5.20.130    Prohibitions.

5.20.140    Unused ballots.

5.20.150    Poll watchers.

5.20.010 Election officials.

A. Before each election, the borough clerk, subject to approval by the assembly, shall appoint at least three judges in each precinct. The borough clerk shall designate one election judge from each precinct as the chairman, who shall be primarily responsible for administering the election in that precinct.

B. The borough clerk may appoint election officials and counters at any polling place where they are needed to conduct an orderly election and to relieve the election judges of undue hardship.

C. If any appointed election official is not able or refuses to serve on election day, the borough clerk may appoint a replacement for that official.

D. Each election official serving at a precinct polling place must be a qualified voter and, if possible, a resident within the precinct for which he is appointed.

E. All election judges, election officials and counters, before entering upon their duties, must subscribe to the oath required of all public officers by the Constitution of the State of Alaska in the manner prescribed by the borough clerk.

F. Candidates and the contact persons on an initiative or referendum shall not serve as election officials. Certain familial relationships may not exist between a candidate and a precinct election judge, election official, or member of a ballot counting team in regular, run-off or special elections. Those familial relationships are:

1. Mother, mother-in-law, stepmother;

2. Father, father-in-law, stepfather;

3. Sister, sister-in-law, stepsister;

4. Brother, brother-in-law, stepbrother;

5. Spouse;

6. Grandparent; or

7. Person sharing the same living quarters.

G. If the borough clerk knows or learns that any of these relationships exist, the precinct election judge, election office, or member of the ballot counting team shall be notified and replaced. (Ord. 2018-08 § 5, 2018; Ord. 2016-40 § 32, 2016; Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.320.)

5.20.020 Opening of polling place.

A. On the day of the election, each election board shall open the polls for voting at 7:00 a.m., shall close the polls for voting at 8:00 p.m., and shall keep the polls continuously open during the time between those hours. The election board shall report to the polling place by 6:30 a.m. so that voting will start promptly at 7:00 a.m. The chairman of the election board shall rotate times at which election judges, board members, and election officials may be relieved for breaks or meals; provided, however, that at all times at least two judges from the election board are present at the polling place.

B. Before issuing any ballots, the election board must, in the presence of any persons assembled at the polling place, open and exhibit the ballot box to be used at the polling place. The ballot box then shall be closed and shall not be opened again or removed from the polling place until the polls have closed.

C. For service area elections, the borough clerk shall determine the location and hours of the polling place. (Ord. 2015-48 § 4, 2015; Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.330.)

5.20.030 Voter registration.

The judges shall keep an original register or registers in which each voter, before receiving his ballot, shall sign his name and give both his residence and mailing address. A record shall be kept in the registration book, in a space provided, of the names of persons who offer to vote but who actually do not vote, and a brief statement of explanation. The signing of the register constitutes a declaration by the voter that he is qualified to vote. If any election official present believes the voter is not qualified, he may question the voter in accordance with the provisions of this title. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.340.)

5.20.040 Voter identification at polls.

A. Before being allowed to vote, each voter shall exhibit to an election official one form of identification, including but not limited to an official voter registration card, driver’s license, passport, or hunting or fishing license.

B. An election official may waive the identification requirement if the election official knows the identity of the voter.

C. A voter who cannot exhibit a satisfactory form of identification shall be allowed to vote a questioned ballot. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.350.)

5.20.050 Persons not on official registration list.

If a person’s name does not appear on the official registration list in the precinct in which the person seeks to vote, the person may vote a questioned ballot. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.360.)

5.20.060 Providing ballot to voter.

When a voter has qualified to vote, the election official shall give the voter an official ballot. The voter shall retire to a booth or private place to mark the ballot. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.370.)

5.20.070 Assisting voter.

A qualified voter who cannot read, mark the ballot, or sign his name may request an election official or not more than two persons of his choice to assist him. If the election official is requested, he shall assist the voter. If any other person(s) is requested, the person(s) shall state upon oath before the election official that he will not divulge the vote cast by the person whom he assists. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.380.)

5.20.080 Spoiled ballots.

The borough clerk shall specify uniform procedures for replacement, registration and disposition of spoiled ballots. These uniform procedures shall be provided in writing to the election judges. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.390.)

5.20.090 Placing ballot in ballot box.

When the voter has marked the ballot, the voter shall inform the election official. The borough clerk may require that the voter return the ballot to the election official temporarily so that any stub, which may be part of the ballot, may be removed by the election official. Any such requirement shall protect the secrecy of the ballot. In all cases the voter, in the presence of the election official, shall deposit the ballot in the ballot box unless the voter requests the election official to deposit the ballot. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.400.)

5.20.100 Questioning procedure.

A. If the polling place of a voter is in question, the voter shall vote a questioned ballot after complying with subsection (C) of this section.

B. Every election official and election judge shall question, and every watcher and any other person qualified to vote in the precinct may question, a person attempting to vote if the questioner has good reason to suspect that the questioned person is not qualified to vote in the election. All questions regarding a person’s qualifications to vote shall be made in writing, setting out the reason that the person has been questioned.

C. The questioned person, before voting, shall subscribe to an oath or affirmation on a form provided by the election official attesting to the fact that, in each particular, the person meets all the qualifications of a voter, is not disqualified, and has not voted at the same election. If the question is to residence within the precinct or voting area, the person shall also state the place from which that person came immediately before living in the precinct where offering to vote. After the questioned person has executed the oath or affirmation, the person may vote. If the questioned person refuses to execute the oath or affirmation, the person shall not vote.

D. A voter who casts a questioned ballot shall vote his ballot in the same manner as prescribed for other voters. After the election official or judge removes the numbered stub from the ballot, the voter shall insert the ballot into a small envelope and put the small envelope into a larger envelope on which the statement he previously signed is located. These larger envelopes shall be sealed and deposited in the ballot box. When the ballot box is opened, these envelopes shall be segregated, counted, compared to the voting list, and delivered to the election canvassing board. The election canvass board shall review and judge the applicability of all questioned ballots. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.410.)

5.20.110 Closing of the polls.

A. Fifteen minutes before the closing of the polls, and at the time of closing the polls, an election official shall announce both the designated closing time and the actual time at which the announcement is made. Failure to make the announcement at 15 minutes before closing time shall not in any way invalidate the election or extend the time for closing of the polls. After closing, no person will be allowed to enter the polling place for purposes of voting. Every qualified voter present and in line at the time prescribed for closing the polls may vote.

B. When the polls are closed and the last vote has been cast, the election board shall account for all ballots by completing a ballot statement containing, in a manner prescribed by the borough clerk, the number of official ballots supplied.

C. The election board shall count the number of questioned ballots and shall compare that number to the number of questioned voters in the register. Discrepancies shall be noted on the ballot statement. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.420.)

5.20.120 Voters in line when polls close.

Every qualified voter present and in line at the time prescribed for closing the polls may vote. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.430.)

5.20.130 Prohibitions.

A. During the hours that the polls are open, no election official may discuss any political party, candidate or issue while on duty.

B. During the hours the polls are open, no person who is in the polling place or within 200 feet of any entrance to the polling place may attempt to persuade a person to vote for or against a candidate, proposition or question. Nor may any person conduct other political activities that may pertain to any future election or potential ballot proposition. The election board shall post warning notices in the form and manner prescribed by the borough clerk.

C. No voter may exhibit a ballot to an election official or any other person so as to enable any person to ascertain how the voter marked the ballot.

D. While the polls are open no election official may open any ballot received from a voter, mark a ballot by folding or otherwise so as to be able to recognize it, or otherwise attempt to learn how a voter marked a ballot, or allow the same to be done by another person.

E. No person may leave the polling place with the official ballot that the person received to mark. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.440.)

5.20.140 Unused ballots.

The numbers of all ballots not issued shall be recorded and then all such ballots shall be disposed of as instructed by the borough clerk before the ballot box is opened. The numbers of ballots damaged by voters and replaced by election officials shall also be recorded. The record of ballots not issued and ballots damaged and replaced shall be preserved for at least 30 days. (Ord. 2004-45 § 2, 2004. 2004 Code § 2.12.450.)

5.20.150 Poll watchers.1

A. Each candidate, or organized group that sponsors or opposes a proposition, may designate one person at a time to be a poll watcher in each precinct.

B. A person wishing to serve as a poll watcher shall request authorization from the borough clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. the Tuesday prior to the election. The authorization must include:

1. The name of the person to act as a poll watcher;

2. The name of the candidate, group, or organization the poll watcher is representing;

3. The date of the election; and

4. The precinct the poll watcher wishes to observe.

C. The poll watcher must present authorization as defined in subsection (B) of this section to the election official upon request. The poll watcher will be provided an area to view all actions of the election board. If the poll watcher does not provide the requested authorization, an election official may require the poll watcher to leave the poll watcher area.

D. The poll watcher observing may:

1. Observe the conduct of the election; and

2. Check the polling booths after each voter to make sure campaign materials have not been left in the booth.

E. The poll watcher may not:

1. Have any duties in the conduct of the election;

2. Be allowed to touch any of the election materials; and

3. Interfere or disturb the orderly conduct of the election.

F. If the poll watcher violates this section or any regulations adopted by the borough clerk, the election official may require the poll watcher to leave the poll watcher area. (Ord. 2014-30 § 7, 2014. 2004 Code § 2.12.455.)


1

Code reviser’s note: Section 7 of Ord. 2014-30 added this section as 2.12.460. This section was renumbered to avoid duplication of numbering.