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Elections division sends pamphlets to wrong address

Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- About 40 percent of Alaska voters are getting the wrong state election pamphlet in their mailboxes this week because of an error by the Division of Elections.

Voters in Eagle River, for instance, got pamphlets with House and Senate candidates for the Interior Valdez, and part of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

But the Oregon printer that prepared the original booklets is rushing to produce 132,500 new ones, officials said Friday, and they're due to be mailed from Anchorage next week.

The rest of the press run of 332,000 went to the right places.

Election officials found out about the bad addresses Thursday afternoon, and new booklets were on the presses by 6 p.m., said Virginia Breeze of the elections division.

''It's going to cost $65,000 for printing and shipping,'' Breeze said. ''Postage will run between $25,000 and $30,000.'' The money will come from the division's redistricting budget.

Affected were 15 of the 40 legislative districts, including all the districts in the Fairbanks area, some in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, and Kodiak.

''The good news is that nothing was dropped that is fundamental to the balloting process,'' said Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, who supervises the elections division. ''As soon as we found out about this, we decided we had to fix it, and that's what we're doing.''

Elections Director Janet Kowalski went to Oregon herself to check on the printing and addressing, Ulmer said.

The error came when workers neglected to change a computer table to reflect the new election district numbers after redistricting. So voters in Kodiak, in old District 6, received pamphlets intended for the new District 6, which covers part of the Interior.

Four different regional editions of the pamphlet were produced for the election. Information for the statewide races and ballot propositions is identical in all four.

Only the candidates for House and Senate races are incorrect in the mis-mailed pamphlets. New versions should start arriving late next week, more than a week ahead of the election.

Meanwhile, voters can check the division's Web site for the candidate data or get a copy of the right pamphlet at libraries or election offices.

The pamphlets, prepared for each general election, were produced at a plant in Salem, Ore., after the state put the work out for bid, said Bob King, a spokesman for Gov. Tony Knowles. Two Alaska companies were among 40 companies bidding on the work, he said.

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On the Web: www.elections.state.ak.us



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