Elections Division: No ‘Vote by Mail’ for Anchorage in state elections


The Anchorage League of Women Voters asked the State to allow Anchorage voters to use the municipality’s new vote by mail system in the General Election in November, as muni voters did in the April 3 municipal election. The League had sent a resolution in May to the Division of Elections Policy Work Group, making the request.

The Division of Elections’ answer is “no.”

The explanation given is that to change the existing precinct-based system for state elections would require legislation to significantly modify Alaska State Statutes.  such as AS 15.20.800. Voting by mail. (a) “The director may conduct an election by mail if it is held at a time other than when the general, party primary, or municipal election is held.”

Based on this and other state statutes, the Division of Elections said it will conduct the 2018 elections as “vote in person at a precinct voting location” with early and absentee voting opportunities still available, as usual.

Anchorage went to a mail-in ballot, plus had strategically placed drop boxes for those who wished to avoid the post office. In addition, there were a few in-person voting sites before and on Election Day, to help those who were uncomfortable with the mail-in process. The entire election timeframe took weeks to complete and doubled the cost of elections in Anchorage.

But absentee ballots have been the norm for years, and will continue to be used the Division said. It just requires a bit of extra work on the part of voters: They must apply for their ballots in advance. The deadlines for applying for an absentee ballot are:

Primary Election: August 11
General Election: October 27

Apply for your absentee ballot here.

League of Women Voters asks state to adopt mail-in ballot


  1. I believe vote by mail is a horrible idea. There is no way to verify that person voted. What about people who don’t live there anymore and then someone sends in there ballot. The MOA elections has no way of verifying they still live there. The old way is the best way in my opinion. Just go to ballot box and vote. We can try other ways to get people to vote but vote by mail doesn’t work. We have to show ID if we want beer, cigarettes, get on a plane, buy a gun so why would we not want to check ID to vote.

  2. Why bother to vote? First of all it doesn’t matter and 2nd of all, the way things are worded if you vote against it your wrong, it’s all in how it’s worded, too confusing.
    Then they can’t figure out why voter turnout is so low?….Huh, go figure….

  3. I’m glad the Division of Elections said, “No.” The mail in ballot is too vulnerable to fraud.

  4. Vote by mail works very well, as seen in the April municipal election in Anchorage. Turnout was off the charts. This is a proven system used 100% in CO, OR and WA, and now over 98% of voters in Utah vote that way, as do 31 of 53 counties in ND, plus over 1000 precincts in MN. And all those locales (politically red, purple and blue) have much higher turnout than national averages. In the California primary on June 5, five counties went to vote from mailed out ballots with significantly higher turnout than the state average. Garden County, Nebraska just ran that state’s first mail ballot pilot and doubled the state average turnout. Las Cruces, NM will run its state’s first pilot in August. Rockville, MD will run its state’s first pilot in 2019. Kauai, HI will run its state’s first pilot in 2020. This has nationwide momentum.

    Finally, the fraud issue is a red herring. Every ballot is checked against the signature on file with the voter’s registration. VERY hard to fool people there, and it’s a separate felony if you do, for every single vote. In the 2016 national election, about 33 million votes were cast from mailed-out ballots (about 25% of the total). Given all the focus on integrity issues in that election, if 25% of the ballots cast were subject to material fraud, we’d have heard about it. This is a proven and tested model. Much more at voteathome.org

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