Republican supporter Carol Beecher tapped to lead the Alaska Division of Elections

two people vote in voting booths inside
Voters gather at the Lynn Canal polling location at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal in Juneau on Nov. 8, 2022. (Paige Sparks/KTOO)

A longtime state employee and Republican supporter has been chosen to lead the Alaska Division of Elections, a nonpartisan role.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom announced the appointment of Carol Beecher on Wednesday. Beecher succeeds Gail Fenumiai, who had a long career with the division and retired last year after administering Alaska’s first ranked choice elections. In Alaska, the lieutenant governor oversees elections.

Beecher began working for the state in 2005 under several Republican elected officials, the Anchorage Daily News reported. She most recently led the state’s child support division. Beecher has been a registered Republican and made contributions to Republican groups and campaigns, including that of Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Dahlstrom last year.

State law says the director of elections and others in key positions in the office “may not join, support or otherwise participate in a partisan political organization, faction, or activity, including but not limited to the making of political contributions.” The law allows the director and other key elections staff to register for a party and express private opinion but not to be officers of a party or political committee.

Dahlstrom and Beecher did not respond to questions from the Anchorage Daily News. A message seeking comment was sent to spokespersons for Dahlstrom by The Associated Press on Thursday.

Dahlstrom, in a statement, said Beecher’s “professionalism and extensive experience will ensure that Alaska is ready for the 2024 election cycle and beyond.”

Beecher said in a statement the division “is dedicated to ensuring secure, accurate and fair elections for all Alaskans and I am confident that this will continue under the lieutenant governor’s leadership.”

Voters in 2020 approved a new elections process that replaced party primaries with open primaries and instituted ranked voting in general elections. The first such elections were held last year.

Dahlstrom has said she would not take an active position for or against ranked choice voting.

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