A vote-by-mail ballot box is photographed at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Administration building in Soldotna, Alaska, in October 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)

A vote-by-mail ballot box is photographed at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Administration building in Soldotna, Alaska, in October 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Soldotna to allow voters to fix affidavits

About 16 absentee ballots were rejected due to a variety of reasons in the 2020 elections.

The City of Soldotna will allow voters to correct their voter affidavits following the passage of legislation authorizing the change by the Soldotna City Council during their Sept. 8 meeting.

Soldotna City Clerk Shellie Saner wrote in an Aug. 25 memo to the city council that about 16 absentee ballots were rejected due to a variety of reasons in the 2020 elections. Those reasons include a voter not signing the affidavit, a lack of a witness signature or a lack of an identifier provided.

Voters would only be permitted to cure their affidavit if the city clerk’s office receives the voter’s voting packet with enough time to allow the deficiencies to be corrected. Errors would be corrected prior to the canvass board canvassing returns.

“This new section of code will provide an opportunity for a higher voter turnout,” Saner wrote in the memo.

Similar comments were made by Kenai City Clerk Jamie Heinz during a Sept. 1 work session with the council, in which she discussed proposed changes to Kenai’s election laws. Allowing voters to correct, or “cure” their absentee ballot affidavits, Heinz said during that meeting, enables the city to include, rather than exclude, votes.

The legislation approved by the city council would also allow the City of Soldotna to receive digitally signed absentee ballot applications received through the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Saner said in the memo. The borough transitioned to an online absentee ballot application in 2020.

More information about Soldotna’s election policies can be found on the Soldotna City Clerk’s website at soldotna.org/government/city-clerk.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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