ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- At a packed and emotionally-charged meeting, pro-hunting groups won the election for the Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee in a landslide.
Droves of people came out Tuesday night to vote for the Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee. (File/KTUU-DT)
But now environmental groups are contesting the results.
Overturning an election won't be easy and is unlikely.
Those running the vote said they have a system to make sure no one voted twice, but those who lost called it a crooked election.
Voter turnout doubled since last year, and with the long lines, there was no shortage of controversy about the way the election went.
Candidates supported by pro-hunting groups won in a landslide. (File/KTUU-DT)
"What we do is we look at where they are from when they are signing up to make sure that they are actually from Southcentral Alaska," said Sherry Wright with the Department of Fish and Game.
Some people stood in line 45 minutes to get a ballot. That was enough time for environmentalist Rick Steiner to think about what he says are flaws in the system.
"There were a number of irregularities even leaving aside the fact that a bunch of people from Palmer and Wasilla came in to vote for the Anchorage election, but even setting that aside, there was no verification of voter eligibility," Steiner said.
Electioneers asked for an address and signature from all voters, but did not ask for ID.
Environmentalists say the results should be thrown out because voters weren't verified to live in Anchorage. (File/KTUU-DT)
Fish and Game claims the election was by the book.
Wright says she sees no problem with the system.
"I always get complaints and it's generally people that didn't get elected or it's people that didn't get the people they wanted elected and they find fault with the process," she said.
Steiner and other environmentalists want the election thrown out, saying it's unfair for people to campaign at what he calls a polling place.
He also claims people came in from the Valley to sway the Anchorage election.
"I've asked that the state annul the results simply because it was a fraudulent election," Steiner said.
But pro-hunting supporters say anyone in the area has a right to vote and claim the newly-elected committee members are representative.
"We all knew that was coming-- whoever lost was going to grouch and complain and find some bone of contention that they were going to bring forward and say ‘it wasn't fair.' It's already been show that's not going to work," said George Hines with the Anchorage Second Amendment Task Force.
All the candidates supported by pro-hunting groups were elected.
They said people interested in game issues made a point to be there.
"Anchorage runs this state. That's why people came from outside of Anchorage to vote. They understand who makes decisions on the Fish and Game Commission: It's Anchorage. That's why they were here," Hines said.
A tally showed most voters were from Anchorage, and as it is now, Board regulations won't allow for a new election.
If someone wants to change the election rules they can write a proposal and present it to the state during a joint meeting of all 82 advisory committees.
The only problem with that is those meetings don't happen very often, only about once every decade.
But the state Board of Fish and Game says if they start getting proposals it would give them a good reason to call a meeting.
Voted to the committee were:
Phil Lincoln, Anchorage, term expires 2012
Frank Neumann, Chugiak, 2012
Greg Bell, Eagle River, 2012
Ron Jordan, Anchorage, 2012
Robert Caywood, Eagle River, 2012
Mark Campbell, Chugiak, 2010
(Alternate) Henry Hodge, Anchorage, 2010
(Alternate) Steve Flory, Sr., Anchorage, 2010
All terms last through Dec. 31 of the expiration year.
Contact Ashton Goodell at email@example.com