Point of View: Ballot Curing – What’s that?

The mayoral election turnout on Feb. 14 was, well, less than the amount you may have spent on Valentine’s Day flowers and chocolate.

Boroughwide voter turnout was only 13.10%. We hope to see more of you in October when the borough and city elections will be in full swing.

In the meantime, are you paying attention to what your representatives in Juneau are up to? Two bills regarding voting are especially important. Which brings me to ballot curing.

In the 2022 state election, too many mail-in absentee ballots were rejected due to some error by the voter such as not signing or neglecting to get their signature witnessed. These voters were not able to correct their ballot as our state election system does not allow for that.

According to thefulcrum.us there are 24 states that have some form of ballot curing for their elections. Ballot curing is the process where the elections office would notify the voter of an error and allow for them to correct the error so their vote would be counted.

Luckily there are two bills advancing in the legislative session that would create ballot curing.

Both Senate Bill 19 and House Bill 37 include a new provision that would allow a voter to be informed and to correct mistakes made on their mailed-in ballot if the elections office receives the correction within 14 days after the election. They will also provide for a system to check voters’ signatures, provide a stamped return envelope for mail-in ballots and create stricter penalties for election crimes.

SB 19 and HB 37 are currently stuck in committee. Call or email your legislator and ask that these bills be put forward. You can find your legislator contact information at akleg.gov.

Therese Lewandowski is a member of Kenai Peninsula Votes.