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

Valdez Star 

Absentee voting in the primary elections began Monday at city hall

Ballots are not affected by the recent breach of the network by cyber criminals


August 8, 2018

Voting in the upcoming primary election will not be curtailed by the recent cyberattack against the city's infrastructure.

That is the word from Allie Ferko, the city's public information officer, who is also the deputy city clerk and an election official for the City of Valdez.

This is good news for voters hoping to cast a ballot in the upcoming primary elections on Aug. 21, or those hoping to vote absentee before then.

Absentee voting at city hall began Aug. 6.

"It began this morning," Ferko said in a telephonic interview Monday.

Absentee ballots can be cast by voters during regular city hall business hours. As it is a statewide election, absentee voters will cast a paper ballot when voting early.

Ferko described the process.

"They fill out a form on an envelope," she said. "The voter seals it themselves."

The ballots are then forwarded to the state's elections division.

"Absentee voting in Valdez, at least, is a 100 percent paper process," Ferko said.

Voters casting a ballot during the regular primary voting day will use the state's Diebold voting machines and results are transmitted through the state's network.

"Nothing touches the city's network as that's concerned," Ferko said.

Absentee voters and those casting a ballot on election day need to bring a form of ID she said. Those lacking identification can still cast a questioned ballot, which is forwarded to the Div. of Elections.

"The Division of Elections will determine what happens next," she said.

The primary election will determine which party's candidates will head off against opposing party's candidate for the Alaska House, Senate and governor's office.

Gov. Bill Walker, who is seeking reelection, will not appear on the August primary ballot, having opted to run with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott as independents.

This scenario leads to a three-way governor's race. Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich is the sole contender for the Democrat ticket and will vie with the winner of the Republican primary against the independent Walker/Mallott ticket.

Republicans Mike Dunleavy and Mead Treadwell are locked in a contentious race for the Republican nomination for governor.

Treadwell served as Lt. Gov. under former Gov. Sean Parnell, who lost his bid for reelection to Walker.

Dunleavy, who until earlier this year represented Valdez in Alaska Senate's District E, resigned from the Senate to pursue his candidacy for governor.

Dunleavy, however, has won Parnell's endorsement for governor.

Dunleavy's resignation from the Alaska Senate adds intrigue to this year's race for seats in both the Alaska House and Senate.

Four Republicans and one Democrat are running for Alaska House District 9 and will be on the primary ballot.

On the republican side, incumbent George Rauscher is seeking a second term in the Alaska House. He is being challenged by Pamela Goode of Delta Junction, Vicki Wallner of Palmer, and an old foe, former Rep. Jim Colver, who Rauscher bested two years ago in a highly contested race. Colver had lost party support for alleged bipartisanship with House Democrats.

Wallner, who has close ties to Valdez, was also shortlisted as a candidate for the Alaska Senate and has now decided to run for Alaska House.

Bill Johnson of Delta is the lone candidate running for the Democrats.

The race to win a term on the Alaska Senate narrowed last June after Rauscher withdrew his name for consideration in the race and instead opted to run for a second term in the Alaska House.

The incumbent, Sen. Mike Shower, is competing for votes for the Republican nomination against Randall Kowalke of Willow.

Steven Weber photo

Gov. Bill Walker was in Valdez last week during Gold Rush Days.

Kowalke was appointed by Gov. Walker last February to fill the Senate District E vacancy that was created when Dunleavey resigned the post to run against Walker in the governor's race. However, Kowalke's appointment was rejected by fellow Republicans despite the fact his name was on an approved list of candidates presented to Walker by the party.

Shower, of Wasilla, was later appointed to the seat.

The winner of the Republican nomination in the primary will face off against Susan "Su" Kay (D-Wasilla) in the general election slated for November 6.

"Currently there are no ballot measures scheduled for the August 21, 2018 Primary Election," the Division of Elections said.

So far, the same holds true for November's general elections.


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