The ACLU of Alaska, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Native American Rights Fund call upon Alaska’s Lt. Governor, Kevin Meyer, to remove an unnecessary voting barrier facing Alaskans in the November General Election. In a letter sent to Meyer on Monday, the organizations said the requirement “disenfranchises many voters” who would have to choose between their health and their vote if the rule continues to be upheld.
“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, but our elected leaders will effectively impair the exercise of this right if they force voters to come into contact with a witness during a global pandemic. A witness signature is an unnecessary barrier for the many Alaskans who’re practicing the social distancing recommendations issued by public health experts. A person’s age, race, relationship status, geographical location, and healthcare status should not determine whether they’re able to elect the next President, U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative, 51 state legislators or to decide two ballot initiatives. But it will if things don’t change soon,” ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua A. Decker said.
“The requirement for a witness over eighteen to sign your ballot for you makes no sense, especially now,” said NARF Senior Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth. “We have no doubt it will deter people, especially vulnerable people, from voting, and that’s just wrong.”
Members of the Dunleavy administration have publicly acknowledged the unprecedented challenges Alaska voters face during a global pandemic. Yet, the requirement for a witness signature remains.
"We are prepared to use every tool in our arsenal to beat back unnecessary barriers to absentee voting faced by voters in Alaska, including restrictive witness requirements," said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
In a joint effort by the ACLU of Alaska, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Native American Rights Fund to protect Alaska voters this election, we’ve asked for an urgent response from Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer by Friday, September 4, 2020.