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Sunday, April 22, 2018
HomePolitics and PolicyCountdown: Anchorage will vote by mail

Countdown: Anchorage will vote by mail

IT’S NOT THAT FAR AWAY

This week, the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office mailed a second set of address verification postcards to 208,000 qualified registered voters in the municipality.

Anchorage voters should receive their postcard in the mail this week.

Hawkins

The postcard asks you to review your current mailing address so you’ll get a ballot in the mail in about two months. Ballot packages that are undeliverable will not be forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service.
If your information is wrong, there’s still time to correct it. To update your voter information, visit the State of Alaska’s Online Voter Registration website. 
Alternately, if you are qualified for a 2018 Permanent Fund dividend, you will automatically be registered to vote when you apply for it under the new system voters approved that provides for automatic registration and updating of your address for elections purposes. That deadline is March 31, but for the Anchorage Municipal Election, you’ll need to get on it now.
BRAVE NEW WORLD OF STAMPS AND ENVELOPES
Anchorage will no longer operate as many traditional polling locations. The ones that will be operating — for those needing extra assistance — will not be in the usual neighborhoods.
Instead, qualified registered voters will be mailed a ballot package 21 days before Election Day: March 13. That is the day people will start filling in their bubbles.
Voters will need to think like an absentee voter and return their ballots via mail or an election drop box, which will be like a mail box in various locations around the city. (Parents may need to show their millennial offspring how to use stamps and envelopes.)
EASY AS 1-2-3-FRAUD
Vote by mail may be ripe for fraud.
If you’re like many Anchorage residents, you’ll see verification postcards for  yourself and several others — people who used to live at your address, such as the one received by this Anchorage voter at her apartment address:
There’s no instructions given on what to do with all the extra ballot verification postcards. Likely there are thousands of these misdirected cards being received throughout the city.
The elections office is using signature verification to ensure that people are who they say they are, but it’s unclear if this is adequate. The absentee ballot is considered the least secure ballot and the most prone to fraud. 

Ethan Berkowitz, Rebecca Logan

WHO IS RUNNING
Two declared mayoral candidates will appear on the ballot so far: Rebecca Logan, who runs the Alaska Support Industry Alliance trade group, and current mayor Ethan Berkowitz, who is finishing his first term.
In addition, three school board seats are up for election: Seats D, E, and F.  Numerous candidates have filed for them. Must Read Alaska will cover the races for those seats in coming days.
Prospective candidates will need to file with the Alaska Public Offices Commission before they raise any funds (more than $5,000), and file officially with the municipality between Jan. 19 and Feb. 2.

CAMPAIGNING GETS REAL

The early voting means Anchorage voters will start choosing the local leaders on about March 13. By the time the sun rises on April 3, most of the ballots will already have been marked and in.

Candidates are having to change their strategies to address this new calendar, where essentially everyone is going to an absentee ballot format.

Will there be a need for the traditional sign-waving on April 3? Or will volunteers be better used going door to door to get people to turn in their ballots? How will candidates pace their resources as the April 3 deadline closes in?

VOTER QUESTIONS? ATTEND A PRESENTATION

The Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s Office is accepting requests for community presentations about how vote by mail will work in the April 3 municipal election.

If your group would like a Vote by Mail presentation, the clerk will review your request at www.muni.org/VBMpresentationrequest.

Tell them Must Read Alaska sent you.

Donations Welcome
Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • With all the stolen mail this could be a huge problem. Some races are won by a very small margin.

  • The strength and weakness of our system is the ballot box.

  • This is the goofiest idea I’ve ever heard of

  • The good news is that your information as a voter is available for a small fee, including how frequent you vote. Not that there are any unscrupulous mail carriers, but if there were I would imagine it to be very easy to make large portions of these ballots to disappear. Just imagine a mail carrier walks/drives up to a mail box and sees a sign they disagree with, then they pull out an “official ballot”…what happens next is between the unscrupulous mail carrier and the trash can.

    Vote by mail is rigged voting, no matter how you look at it.

  • I’m not voting until someone runs as the same standards as DT they can all kiss my a**.