The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Help with primary election voting is just a phone call away

Clerk's office ready to assist voters who have disabilities or mobility issues


Valdez Star photo

City Clerk Sheri Pierce with one of the state's old Diebold voting machine.

Election officials are encouraging everyone to get out and vote in the primary elections this Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Statewide, voters will be selecting party candidates for State House and some State Senate seats, as well as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

"Polls are open Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.," the state's Division of Elections says.

Any Valdez voter who plans to be out of town next Tuesday can vote absentee at City Hall, Monday through Friday. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. according to Sheri Pierce, city clerk.

Citizens wishing to vote absentee by mail or electronic means should contact Alaska Division of Elections for instructions the city's website says.

But what about those who are sick, infirm or in the hospital this Tuesday?

Help is just one phone call away.

Pierce, who is also the top election official in Valdez, says her office will come to you if you have a disability that will prevent you from getting to the polls on Tuesday or voting absentee before the election.

"The city clerk's office, we will help people who cannot get to the polls on election day," she said. "We will come to you and make sure that you vote."

The clerk's office will be available for Tuesday's primary, as well as the general election this November.

The clerks office has regular places it visits to help people with disabilities vote.

"We go to the Senior Center, we help people vote there. We will go to Valdez hospital and help anyone who needs assistance there," she said.

This includes folks who reside in Long Term Care or those who find themselves hospitalized on the day of the elections.

Voters who go to the polls in person will be casting ballots using the state's old voting machines.

Earlier this year, the City of Valdez entered into a long-term lease agreement with Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. to provide state-of-the- art voting machines for municipal elections.

The new city-owned machines will cannot be used for state elections.

"We will be using the state voting machines," Pierce said. "They are the older Diebolds."

The city's newer voting machines will not be available to use because the older machines belong to the State of Alaska and the city's voting machines are not compatible with the state's much older system.

Pierce says the state's voting machines have been in service for well over 15 years and in the past were used for both state and municipal elections.

"The state owns them and we have just used them," Pierce said. "They've allowed us to use them over the years in our municipal elections."

The City Clerk's office facilitates the state elections but does not have an active roll in tallying the votes or publishing the ballots.

"The only involvement that the city clerk's office has with the state elections is that we just help them to facilitate the election," Pierce said. "We problem-solve if there is something at the precinct needing help."

She said that in most Alaska municipalities, the State Division of Elections hires its own election workers to run state elections.

"The city of Valdez clerks office is more hands on probably more than other municipal clerks offices around the state," she said.


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