II. Primary Roundup
Alaska: Elections officials in the Interior of The Last Frontier reported steady voting throughout Tuesday with numbers in some areas indicating a possible higher-than-normal turnout.
And the higher than expected turnout wasn’t just limited to the Interior either. Officials in Juneau and Douglas anticipated besting 2012’s primary turnout of 13 percent. At one point in time on Tuesday there was even a small line of voters waiting to cast their ballot!
That being said, initial turnout numbers were pegged at 31.7 percent, low, but still much higher than many other states.
The “high” turnout wasn’t the only unexpected thing elections officials were faced with on Tuesday. Workers arriving at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds polling place in Fairbanks were greeted with racist and vulgar graffiti on the outside of the polling place. Fortunately the vandals did not gain access to the polling place and no machines or materials were harmed.
Current Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell failed in his attempt to gain the GOP bid for U.S. Senate coming in third place behind Dan Sullivan. In the race to replace Treadwell, Democrat Hollis French will face off against Republican Dan Sullivan in November. Yes, you read that right, there were two Dan Sullivan’s on the ballot on Tuesday and both won.
And proving the old adage that location is everything is actually correct, the News Minor reported that a loose-change kiosk that was positioned next to the line of people waiting to cast their ballots at the Bentley Mall saw brisk business all day as people waited to cast their ballots. The funds from the kiosk support the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.
Hawaii: Hawaii’s protracted primary election came to a close on Friday Aug. 15, nearly one week after most of the state’s voters went to the polls.
Due to Tropical Storm Iselle, voters in two Big Island polling places were forced to wait until Friday to cast their ballots. Although one candidate attempted to stop the election, the polls opened at 7 a.m. Due to storm damage, elections officials used a shuttle to pick up voters at several locations.
Once they actually got to the polls on Friday, some early voters were faced with long delays when elections workers were forced to shut down electronic voting machines in order to add more machines. While most voters waited — anywhere from 15-45 minutes — elections workers reported that at least three voters walked away without casting a ballot.
Four days after the election U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who had challenged the scheduling of the make-up election, announced that she will not challenge the results.
"Though I will not be challenging the results of this election, I remain very concerned about the public's confidence and trust in our election process. I ask former colleagues and friends in the Hawaii State Legislature to explore what is necessary to ensure the people that their vote truly counts," Hanabusa told KHNL.
There were also some problems held over from the original primary. As polls were closing on the Big Island on Friday, officials on Maui discovered about 800 mail-in ballots that were not properly transmitted.
Hawaii’s chief election official, Scott Nago, has been questioned not only about the untallied 800 ballots, but also his handling of the storm delay.
“Given the circumstances that the staff did (face) I think everybody involved in this election did a good job,” Nago told KHNL.
Still, at least two state senators are not pleased with Nago’s performance and have called for his ouster.
U.S. Virgin Islands: It took nearly three weeks, but the primary election in the U.S. Virgin Islands was finally certified this week. The deadline to certify came and went on Sunday with no word from the St. Thomas-St. John election district as to whether or not the election had been certified and if not, why not. It wasn’t until August 20, 17 days after the election that the St. Thomas-St. John elections district certified the election and only then after a member of the board called in from vacation to ensure that the board had a quorum to certify the election.
To add to the woes, a voter has filed a 16-page complaint against Islands elections because they did not halt the primary that was held in the midst of Tropical Storm Bertha. The voter contends that his constitutional rights were violated because he was unable to get to the polls on primary day due to the weather
Wyoming: According to published reports, voting was slow but steady in The Cowboy State on Tuesday and while there were some bumps, things went relatively well. Based on preliminary turnout numbers, the state had a 46 percent voter turnout rate — one of the highest, if not the highest statewide turnout this primary season.
In Laramie County there were reported issues with the vote count. According to the Casper Star-Tribune, the clerk would not confirm what the problems were, just that additional time was needed to tally the vote.
Voters in two precincts in Sweetwater County received the wrong primary ballots for at least seven hours on primary day. The local races on the ballots were identical but they had different legislative races. According to Clerk Dale Davis the legislative races were not competitive. The mix-up was resolved around 2pm.
Fortunately a gas leak at the Campbell County courthouse did not impact the vote tally in the clerk’s office. Although the building remained closed to the public, it was reopened in time to allow staff back inside to tally votes.
In the crowded field to replace outgoing Secretary of State Max Maxfield, Ed Murray, a businessman from Cheyenne won the Republican nod. Murray will face Constitution Party candidate Jennifer Young in November.