Alaska: Democrats File Lawsuit To Get 2004 Election Records
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By Kay Brown, Alaska Democratic Party
April 18, 2006
The Alaska Democratic Party filed suit in Superior Court today seeking to force the Division of Elections to release public records needed to verify the 2004 election results.
"We are asking the court to release these public records so that the people of Alaska can be assured that their votes were counted correctly," said Alaska Democratic Party Chair Jake Metcalfe (pictured at right). "The Division of Elections' numbers do not add up. The Division has refused to release the public records that would allow us to verify the results. All we ask is that the Lt. Governor and the Director of Elections follow the law and meet their obligation to Alaskans so every one knows why these numbers don't add up."
The Alaska Democratic Party has been trying since last year to get the public records of the election in order to find out why there are numerous errors and discrepancies in the state’s reported results of the 2004 general election. The Division of Elections’ latest excuse for refusing to release the election information is that it would create “security risks."
"Nothing we have asked for compromises security," Metcalfe said. ""Why is the Division of Elections is so reluctant to provide these public records? What are they trying to hide?"
According to the Division of Elections' vote reports that were produced by the state's Diebold computer system and are posted on the Division's official web site, a far larger number of votes were cast than the official totals reported in the statewide summary. In the case of President George Bush’s votes, the district-by-district totals add up to 292,267, but his official total was only 190,889, a difference of 101,378 votes. In the U.S. Senate race, Lisa Murkowski received 226,992 votes in the district-by-district totals, but her official total was only 149,446, a difference of 77,546 votes.
In 20 of the 40 State House Districts, more ballots were cast than there are registered voters in the district, according to information on the state's web site. In 16 election districts, the voter turnout percentage shown is over 200%.
"Alaskans must have an accurate accounting of the 2004 election results. "The accountability of our election system is at stake. Confidence in the integrity of our elections is fundamental to our democracy," Metcalfe said.
The ADP filed a formal public records request on Dec. 19, 2005, seeking the "central tabulator data file" taken from the Diebold-supplied computer used to run the "GEMS" (Global Election Management Software) application. This is the electronic file containing all final vote tallies for the 2004 General Election.
Under the public records regulations, the Division was supposed to release the data file on Jan. 4. On Jan. 4 the Division extended the deadline until Jan. 19.
In a Jan. 19 letter, the Division asserted that the file was proprietary information belonging to its contractor, Diebold Elections Systems.
In a Feb. 3 letter, the Division advised the Democrats that Diebold had agreed to waive its proprietary rights to the GEMS database files, and said that the records would be provided if it determined that the integrity of the election system could be protected. In the Feb. 3 letter the Division asked for an additional 10-day extension until Feb. 13, and the Democrats agreed. On Feb. 13, the Division again extended the deadline to Feb. 27. In a letter dated Feb. 22, the Division denied the Democrats' public records request, citing "security risks."
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