Alaskans turned out to vote in the General Election, and while the percentage doesn’t seem high, the actual number of voters eclipsed all other general elections.
As of Tuesday morning, 355,125 ballots had been counted, with an estimated 5,000 remaining. That puts the voter turnout at just under 60 percent.
The highest percentage turnout was in 2008, when Sarah Palin was on the ticket with John McCain, up against Barack Obama and Joe Biden. That year, 327,341 voters turned out, or 66 percent.
In 2016, Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 1, a law that requires automatic registration of eligible applicants to vote and updates voter registration information of voters who are currently registered to vote using the information applicants provide when applying for a Permanent Fund Dividend.
Once the automatic voter registration went into effect in 2017, the number of automatically registered voters exploded. Registered voters went from 528,671 in 2016 to 595,647 in 2020. Those who are automatically registered to vote when they apply for their Permanent Fund dividend are put into the “undeclared” category.
However, if those 67,000 extra PFDregistered voters are removed from the calculation, this year’s turnout would top that of 2008, reaching about 67 percent this year.
Paid ballot harvesters from out of state working for the campaigns of Al Gross and Alyse Galvin can rightfully take credit for much of the turnout in the 2020 General Election. They targeted the undeclared, nonpartisan, Democrat, and Green Party registered voters by scouring apartment buildings and condominiums for unreturned absentee ballots.