Chapter 2.28
CANVASSING RETURNS

Sections:

2.28.010    Counting ballots.

2.28.020    Tallies.

2.28.030    Rules for determining mark on ballots.

2.28.040    Delivery of ballots.

2.28.050    Canvass board.

2.28.060    Canvass of returns – Procedures generally.

2.28.070    Canvass of returns – Certificate of return.

2.28.080    Canvass of returns – Exclusion of illegal returns.

2.28.090    Canvass of returns – Discrepancies in returns.

2.28.100    Custody and destruction of ballots.

2.28.110    Contest of election – Grounds.

2.28.120    Contest of election – Notice.

2.28.130    Contest of election – Investigation.

2.28.140    Contest of election – Recounts.

2.28.150    Contest of election – Resolution.

2.28.160    Tie election.

2.28.170    Action by assembly on election results.

2.28.180    Certificate of elections.

2.28.010 Counting ballots.

As soon as the polls are closed the judges shall open the ballot box and commence counting the ballots and continue without adjournment until they are all counted, and in no case shall the ballot box be removed from the room in which the election was held until all ballots have been counted. The opening of the ballot box and the counting of ballots shall be accomplished in full view of any persons present. The public may not be excluded from the area in which the ballots are counted; however, the election judges shall not permit anyone present to interfere in any way or to distract the appointed officials from their duties and no one other than such appointed officials may handle ballots. [Ord. 827 § 7, 2008; Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.010.]

2.28.020 Tallies.

The election officials shall write down each office to be filled and the name of each person voted for such office, and shall keep the number of votes by tallies, as they are read aloud by the judges. With necessary adjustment to account for the number of ballot sheets or cards issued to each voter, the number of ballots cast shall agree with the number of voters who signed the register and who were issued ballots. If a discrepancy exists which cannot be resolved, the election officials shall make note of it in writing for the information of the canvass board and shall call it to the attention of the election supervisor when they return their election materials and ballots. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.020.]

2.28.030 Rules for determining mark on ballots.

The election board shall canvass and count the votes according to the following rules:

A. A voter may mark his ballot only by filling in the oval or the use of crossmarks, “X” marks, checks, or plus signs that are clearly spaced in the square opposite the name of the candidate the voter desires to designate.

B. A failure to properly mark a ballot as to one or more candidates does not itself invalidate the entire ballot.

C. If a voter marks fewer names than there are persons to be elected to the office, a vote shall be counted for each candidate properly marked.

D. If a voter marks more names than there are persons to be elected to the office, the votes for candidates for that office shall not be counted.

E. The mark shall be counted only if it is substantially inside the square provided, or touching the square so as to indicate clearly that the voter intended the particular square to be designated.

F. An erasure or correction invalidates only that section of the ballot in which it appears.

G. To be a valid write-in vote, the candidate’s name must be written only in the section of the ballot that has a blank space provided for this purpose. The requirements of WMC 2.16.030, Write-in candidates and write-in votes, must also be met. [Ord. 782 § 20, 2006; Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.030.]

2.28.040 Delivery of ballots.

When the tally of votes is completed, a certificate of returns shall be prepared and signed by the chairperson and clerks of each election precinct. After completion of the certificate of returns the counted ballots and all rejected ballots shall be sealed into an envelope provided by the election supervisor, sealed, and delivered to the clerk, along with all challenged ballots in and emergency absentee ballots, to be retained in a depository until submitted to the canvass board. [Ord. 884 § 5, 2014; Ord. 417 § 11, 1981; Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.040.]

2.28.050 Canvass board.

The canvass board shall consist of borough clerk who acted as election supervisor, the chairperson from each election precinct, and three members of the assembly. The assembly shall, prior to the date of the election, designate three assembly members to serve on the canvass board. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment of the mayor. [Ord. 884 § 5, 2014; Ord. 417 § 12, 1981.]

2.28.060 Canvass of returns – Procedures generally.

Within six days after each election the canvass board shall meet in public session and shall canvass the election returns. The canvass may be continued from day to day, but must be completed no less than 10 days after the election. The canvass board may accept the certificate of returns submitted by the precinct election judges, examine election officials, and may hear informal protests, complaints or objections from individuals. The canvass board may, in lieu of the foregoing procedure, canvass the returns de novo by following the procedures specified in WMC 2.28.020. In full view of those present the canvass board shall judge separately the validity of all challenged and absentee ballots, and shall open and tally those accepted and shall compile the total votes cast in the election. Absentee voters may be challenged as though they were present. [Ord. 827 § 8, 2008; Ord. 417 § 13, 1981; Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.045(b).]

2.28.070 Canvass of returns – Certificate of return.

The canvassing board shall thereafter make a general determination concerning whether or not the election was validly held and the returns accurately presented, and shall prepare a certificate of return together with a full report of votes cast for each candidate and for and against each proposition or question, and reporting any discrepancies or contingencies. Said certificate shall be signed by each participating member of the canvass board. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.045(c).]

2.28.080 Canvass of returns – Exclusion of illegal returns.

If the canvass board reports a failure to comply with provisions of state law or municipal ordinance or a finding of illegal election practices, and it is determined that such failure or illegal practices were sufficient to have changed the outcome of the election, the canvass board may recommend the exclusion of votes cast in one or more precincts or districts where the defect occurred from the total returns or they may recommend the entire election be declared invalid and order a new election. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.045(d).]

2.28.090 Canvass of returns – Discrepancies in returns.

If the canvass board finds an apparent discrepancy in the returns of one or more precincts which may materially affect the outcome of the election, the canvass board shall immediately undertake a recount of the votes cast in that precinct or precincts. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.045(e).]

2.28.100 Custody and destruction of ballots.

After the ballots of every election have been canvassed, including all absentee ballots, they shall be kept in the custody of the borough clerk unopened, except for use as evidence in the event of an election contest, for six months and then destroyed. [Ord. 553 § 4, 1990; Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.047.]

2.28.110 Contest of election – Grounds.

Any candidate or any 10 registered qualified voters may contest the election of any person and the approval or rejection of any question or proposition upon one or more of the following grounds:

A. Malconduct, fraud or corruption of an election official sufficient to change the results of the election;

B. Disqualification of the person elected under provisions of law or ordinance or existence of a corrupt election practice as defined by the laws of the State of Alaska or in Chapter 2.36 WMC. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.050(a).]

2.28.120 Contest of election – Notice.

A. The candidate or one or more of the voters initiating a contest shall appear before the assembly at the meeting held to canvass the election returns, and there shall deliver to the assembly written notice of contest.

B. The notice shall state the grounds of contest in detail, shall be signed under oath by the candidate or voter filing it, and shall be in substantially the following form:

NOTICE OF ELECTION CONTEST

The undersigned contest the regular (or special) election of the City and Borough of Wrangell, Alaska, held on the ________ day of _____________, in the year __________, on the following grounds:

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________

Signature of Candidate or Person Contesting Election

SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this _______ day of ______________, in the year ________.

______________________________

Notary Public for Alaska

[Ord. 782 § 21, 2006; Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.050(b).]

2.28.130 Contest of election – Investigation.

Upon receiving a notice of contest, the assembly shall order an investigation by the mayor to be made with the assistance of the borough election supervisor and attorney. Those contesting the election, those whose election is contested and the public shall be allowed to attend all investigation and recounting proceedings. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.050(c).]

2.28.140 Contest of election – Recounts.

If only a recount of ballots is demanded, the election boards in the precincts where error allegedly occurred shall recount the ballots in such precincts. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.050(d).]

2.28.150 Contest of election – Resolution.

If the contestant alleges prohibited practices, the assembly shall direct the borough election supervisor to open the boxes containing the duplicate registration cards for the purpose of discovering the alleged prohibited practices. If the contestant charges a candidate obtained votes, or a proposition was voted for or against, by reason of prohibited practices, and the charges are proven to and sustained by the assembly, the assembly shall, to the extent of such proof, purge the illegally induced votes from the returns and after a recount certify the amended returns. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.050(e).]

2.28.160 Tie election.

If two or more persons have received an equal and highest number of votes for any one and the same office, the borough clerk shall give notice to each of such persons to attend at a time and place appointed by the borough clerk who shall then and there publicly proceed to determine by lot which of the persons so having an equal number of votes shall be declared duly elected, and shall issue to such person to be declared elected his certificate accordingly. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.060.]

2.28.170 Action by assembly on election results.

If the assembly concludes that a valid election was held, such conclusion shall be publicly announced and entered upon the minutes of the meeting. The minutes also shall include the number of votes cast in the election, the names of the persons voted for and the propositions and questions voted upon at such election, the offices voted for, the number of votes cast for each candidate for each office, and the number of votes for and against each proposition and question voted upon. If the assembly concludes that the election is not valid it shall order another election. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.070(a).]

2.28.180 Certificate of elections.

If the assembly accepts the canvass board’s certificate of returns showing that a valid election was held and that substantial compliance with all voting procedures was effected and that no material discrepancy exists which may affect the outcome of the election, the assembly shall direct the borough clerk to deliver to each person elected to office a certificate of elections signed by the mayor and borough clerk and authenticated by the municipal seal. [Ord. 270 § 5, 1972; prior code § 36.40.070(b).]