Elections

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Frequently Asked Questions

Vote by Mail

What is Vote by Mail?

Are Vote by Mail elections secure?

What happens if someone requests a "replacement" ballot and tries to vote twice?

What happens if someone intercepts my mail and votes my ballot?

If you mail out ballots, won't non-citizens be able to vote?

If I move and forget to update my voter registration, will my ballot be mailed to my old address and will someone else be able to vote it?

2021 Regular Municipal Election

When is the 2021 Regular Municipal Election?

Who is eligible to vote in this election?

How old must I be to vote?

How do I vote in this election?

Can I vote in person at a polling location?

How do I get help with voting questions?

What is the last day you will accept ballot return envelopes?

What votes will be included in the totals reported on Election night?

How frequently will the numbers be reported on Election night?

Ballots

When will ballots be mailed?

What will I receive in the ballot package?

What if I lose my ballot or never receive my ballot package in the mail?

What can I do to make sure that I receive the correct ballot in the mail at my current mailing address?

What do I do if I move after the 30-day registration deadline?

I will be traveling during the election. How will I get my ballot?

What if I am out of the country and I will not be able to receive my ballot in time to return it?

What is a Questioned Ballot?​

When is voting a Questioned Ballot necessary?​

Can I vote by email or fax?

How do I mark my ballot?

What if I make a mistake while marking my ballot?

How do I return my ballot?

Anchorage Vote Centers

What is an Anchorage Vote Center?

Where are the Anchorage Vote Centers located and what hours will they be open?

What services can I receive at an Anchorage Vote Center?

How do I return the ballot I receive in the mail at an Anchorage Vote Center?

What identification do I need to obtain a ballot at an Anchorage Vote Center?

Can I pick a ballot up at an Anchorage Vote Center to take home, mark, and return it later?

Secure Drop Boxes

What is a Secure Drop Box?

Where will the Secure Drop Boxes be located?

When will Secure Drop Boxes be open?

Voter Registration

How do I register to vote in Alaska?

When do I register to vote to participate in an election?

How old must I be to register to vote?

What do I do if my residence address has changed?

How do I cancel my State of Alaska voter registration?

History of Vote by Mail in Anchorage

Why did the Municipality of Anchorage change to Vote by Mail elections?

How was the decision to change to Vote by Mail elections made?

FAQ Answers

What is Vote by Mail?

Vote by Mail is an alternative ballot delivery system where ballots are mailed to eligible voters.  Vote by Mail systems contrast to poll-based voting, where ballots are distributed to various polling locations.  In the Anchorage Vote by Mail system, voters will have the option of returning their mailed ballots in several ways to a central location for counting.

  • Voters may return their ballots by placing them in a secure drop box.  
  • Voters may return their ballots to an Anchorage Vote Center.  
  • Voters may return their ballot by mail through the U.S. Postal Service using first class postage.

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Are Vote by Mail elections secure?

Vote by Mail elections are secure.  The Municipal Clerk's Office takes election security seriously and helps to keep election secure by:

  • Not connecting Vote by Mail equipment to the internet. 
  • Checking that all signatures match those in State of Alaska voter records.
  • Emptying secure drop boxes often.
  • Training workers to securely handle voting materials.
  • Locking up voting materials.

Voters can also help to keep elections secure by:

  • Keeping their ballots safe.
  • Tearing ballots in half before throwing them away if not voting.
  • Following the instructions on the ballot and envelope.
  • Signing the return envelope.
  • Responding to letters and phone calls from election officials.
  • Reporting concerns to election officials right away.

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What happens if someone requests a “replacement" ballot and tries to vote twice?

Ballot envelopes are assigned a unique barcode for each individual voter. Upon return, only one ballot envelope from any voter is accepted - the first one in. Others are rejected. Ballots in an envelope with no barcode are rejected. Voting more than once in the same election, with the intent that your vote be counted more than once, is voter misconduct in the first degree under Alaska Statutes 15.56.040. Voter misconduct in the first degree is a class C felony.  

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What happens if someone intercepts my mail and votes my ballot?

Every return ballot envelope must be signed by the voter, and each signature is validated based on official signatures already on file with the State of Alaska – e.g. the voter's registration document, prior election ballot envelopes, motor vehicle transactions, PFD application, etc. Election officials who adjudicate signatures are trained with techniques used to identify matches and forgeries.

If two trained election officials agree that the signature doesn't match, the voter is contacted by mail and provided an opportunity to cure the discrepancy. This cure opportunity period extends ten days after Election Day to allow all votes to be counted.

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If you mail out ballots, won't non-citizens be able to vote?

No. Ballots are mailed only to active registered voters who reside in Anchorage. The question of U.S. citizenship is handled during the voter registration process – only citizens of the U.S. who are residents of Anchorage, Alaska, may register to vote in a municipal election. This process occurs long before ballots are mailed.  

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If I move and forget to update my voter registration, will my ballot be mailed to my old address and will someone else be able to vote it?

Your Vote By Mail ballot is not forwarded to your new address, but each signature on a returned ballot envelope is reviewed by two trained election officials to ensure that your ballot isn't voted by another person. If you move, forget to update your voter registration, and don't receive your ballot in the mail, you can call 243-VOTE (8683) to request a ballot package to be mailed to your new address. You will be required to provide a signature so we can verify your identity. When a new ballot package is issued to you, your previous ballot package will be voided, which is another way for election officials to tell that if it is returned, it wasn't voted by you.

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When is the 2021 Regular Municipal Election?

The 2021 Regular Municipal Election is Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

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Who is eligible to vote in this election?

To vote in this election, you must be:

  • Qualified to vote in State of Alaska elections.
  • Registered to vote at an address within the Municipality of Anchorage for at least 30 days before an election. 

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How old must I be to vote?

You must be 18 years of age or older on Election Day in order to vote.

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How do I vote in this election?

This election will be a Vote by Mail election.

Your ballot package will be mailed to you approximately three weeks before Election Day, giving you time to carefully research the ballot questions, mark the ballot, and return it in time for the ballot to be counted.  You may return your ballot to a secure drop box, to an Anchorage Vote Center, or mail it with first class postage. Additional instructions about how to vote by mail will be included in the ballot package.

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Can I vote in person at a polling location?

You may vote at an Anchorage Vote Center by:

  • Dropping off your ballot return envelope containing your marked ballot.
  • Taking your unmarked ballot package to an Anchorage Vote Center and marking your ballot in a voting booth.
  • Voting in-person in a voting booth if you lose, damage or do not receive your mailed ballot.

In all cases, marked ballots are placed in a ballot return envelope and a secure ballot box for processing.

Locations and tentative hours may be found HERE.

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How do I get help with voting questions?

You may access help with voting questions by:

  • Calling the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683);
  • Visiting the MOA Election Center at 619 East Ship Creek Avenue, Suite 100, Door D, on the east side of the building (between May and December call (907) 243-VOTE (8683) before visiting); or 
  • Visiting an Anchorage Vote Center (during the election).

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What is the last day you will accept ballot return envelopes?

The last day for MOA Elections to accept ballot return envelopes postmarked on or before Election Day is Friday, April 16, 2021.

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What votes will be included in the totals reported on Election Night?

The numbers reported on Election Night will include all ballot return envelopes that were received through the mail, at an Anchorage Vote Center, and in the secure drop boxes early Tuesday morning depending on how much we are able to process.  All other ballot return envelopes voted at an Anchorage Vote Center on Tuesday or dropped off at a secure drop box after mid-morning Tuesday will most likely be processed on Wednesday morning and will be reported in updated results on Wednesday.

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How frequently will the numbers be reported on Election Night?

There will be only one set of numbers reported at about 8:30 p.m. on Election Night.

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When will ballots be mailed?

Ballot packages will be mailed three weeks before Election Day.

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What will I receive in the ballot package?

Every ballot package will contain:

  • an official ballot;
  • a security sleeve;
  • instructions; and 
  • a ballot return envelope.

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What if I lose my ballot or never receive my ballot package in the mail?

If you lose or do not receive your ballot package in the mail, call the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683) to request a replacement ballot package.

You may also visit an Anchorage Vote Center to vote.  You must have proper identification to vote in-person at an Anchorage Vote Center. 

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What can I do to make sure that I receive the correct ballot in the mail at my current mailing address?

You must register to vote or update your registration 30 days before an election.  Make sure the residence address on file with the State of Alaska Division of Elections is where you currently reside. Ballot packages will not be forwarded.

To check your voter registration information, visit the State of Alaska Division of Elections at myvoterinformation.alaska.gov, call (907) 522-VOTE (8683), or go to the State of Alaska Region II Elections Office at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100. (Due to Covid-19 concerns, we recommend calling before visiting this facility.)

To update your voter registration information, visit the State of Alaska Division of Elections at voterregistration.alaska.gov, call (907) 522-VOTE (8683), or go to the State ​of Alaska Region II Elections Office at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100. (Due to Covid-19 concerns, we recommend calling before visiting this facility.)

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What do I do if I move after the 30-day registration deadline?

If you move after the 30-day deadline, call the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683) and you will be given instructions to go to an Anchorage Vote Center to vote.  You will be required to vote a Questioned Ballot so election officials can capture your new address to update the voter registration database. 

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I will be traveling during the election.  How will I get my ballot?

Ballot packages will be mailed three weeks before Election Day.  If you want to receive your ballot package at a temporary address rather than your regular mailing address, complete the Application to Vote at a Temporary Address and return it to MOA Elections no later than 5:00 p.m. AKDT on March 30, 2021. The Application to Vote at a Temporary Address for the 2021 Election will be available on the website starting approximately December 1, 2020.

Or, call the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683) for more information.

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What if I am out of ​the country and I will not be able to receive my ballot in time to return it?

Ballot packages will be mailed three weeks before Election Day. If you will be out of the country and you will not be able to receive your mail in time to return your ballot - and you are able to send and receive an email or fax - call the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683) to request an Application to Vote by Fax or Email. Applications to vote by fax or email are due to MOA Elections no later than 5:00 p.m. AKDT on March 30, 2021. Applications received after this date will be processed as time allows, through April 5 at 5:00 p.m. AKDT.

Or, call the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683) for more information.

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What is a Questioned Ballot?

A Questioned Ballot is a voted ballot that has been segregated because the voter's information is not the same as the information in the Voter Registration Database. The voter places the voted ballot into the security envelope, places both in the voter's ballot return envelope, signs the Voter Declaration, and places everything in a Questioned Ballot Envelope. Election Officials review and verify information on the envelope to determine whether to accept or provisionally reject the ballot.

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When is voting a Questioned Ballot necessary?

Possible reasons a voter would need to vote a Questioned Ballot:

  • Voter's name cannot be found in the Voter Registration Database.

  • Voter does not have identification and is not personally known to an election worker.

  • Voter has moved and must update their address.

  • Voter's name has changed.

  • Voter is not a U.S. citizen.

  • A registered observer challenges a voter.

  • Voter is younger than 18 years of age.

  • Voter arrived at an Anchorage Vote Center after 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

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Can I vote by fax or email?

Yes. You must apply to vote by fax or email. Call the Voter Hotline at (907) 243-VOTE (8683) to request an Application to Vote by Fax or Email.  Complete and return the application to MOA Elections by 5:00 p.m. AKDT on March 30, 2021. Instructions are included with the application. Applications received after this date will be processed as time allows, through April 5 at 5:00 p.m. AKDT. ​

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How do I mark my ballot?

Mark your ballot using a black or blue pen, completely filling in the oval beside the selection of your choice.  Instructions for marking your ballot are shown on the ballot.

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What if I make a mistake while marking my ballot?

The ballot contains instructions about how to correct mistakes while marking your ballot. If you make a mistake on your ballot, you can correct it by striking through the oval and the candidate's name or proposition answer that you do not want to vote for,​ and filling in the oval beside the candidate or proposition you do wish to vote for, as shown in the example below.

How to correct a mistake on ballot graphic from code.png
 

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How do I return my ballot?

You may choose one of three methods to return your ballot.

Save postage and:

  • Place your ballot return envelope in a secure drop box.
  • Take your ballot return envelope to an Anchorage Vote Center. 

Or:

  • Take your ballot return envelope with first class postage to a U.S. Post Office. ​

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What is an Anchorage Vote Center (AVC)?

An Anchorage Accessible Vote Center is a location where you can get voter services. Voters may come to an AVC to deliver a completed mailed ballot return envelope, replace a lost or damaged ballot, receive a ballot package if they did not receive one in the mail, vote a questioned ballot, receive voting assistance, and get help with other voter questions.

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Where are the Anchorage Vote Centers located and what hours will they be open?

Locations and tentative hours may be found HERE.

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What services can I receive at an Anchorage Vote Center?

At an Anchorage Vote Center, you may:

  • Return your mail ballot.
  • Vote in-person if you lose, damage, or do not receive your ballot package in the mail.
  • Receive voting assistance.
  • Access help for other voter questions.
  • Register to vote.
  • Vote a Questioned Ballot.

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How do I return the ballot I receive in the mail at an Anchorage Vote Center?

You have two options for returning the ballot you receive in the mail to an Anchorage Vote Center:

  • You may drop off your ballot return envelope containing your marked ballot, or
  • You may take your unmarked ballot package to an Anchorage Vote Center and mark your ballot in a voting booth.

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What identification do I need to obtain a ballot at an Anchorage Vote Center?

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • a signed voter card
  • a State of Alaska driver's license
  • a State of Alaska I.D. card
  • a military I.D. card
  • a passport
  • a hunting or fishing license
  • other current or valid photo identification
  • other identification acceptable in State of Alaska elections

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Can I pick a ballot up at an Anchorage Vote Center to take home, mark, and return it later?

No, you must mark your ballot at the Anchorage Vote Center and place it into the ballot box on-site.

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What is a secure drop box?

A secure drop box is a secure container where voters may place their return envelope containing their marked ballots.

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Where will the secure drop boxes be located?

The regular municipal election secure drop boxes are at the following locations:

Municipal Drop Box Map

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When will secure drop boxes be open?

Secure drop boxes will be open 24 hours, 7 days-a-week beginning approximately 3 weeks before Election Day.

Secure drop boxes will be closed at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, April 6, 2021. Voters in line at a secure drop box by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day will be allowed to drop off their ballots.

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How do I register to vote in Alaska?

Register to vote by visiting the

  • State of Alaska Voter Registration System (OLVR) online, or
  • Alaska Region II Elections Office in person at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100. 

For more information, call (907) 522-VOTE (8683).

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When do I register to vote to participate in an election?

You must be registered to vote 30 days before an election.

Register to vote by visiting the

  • State of Alaska Voter Registration System (OLVR) online, or
  • Alaska Region II Elections Office in person at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100. 

For more information, call (907) 522-VOTE (8683).

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How old must I be to register to vote?

If you are under 18 years of age, you may register to vote anytime in the 90-day period before your 18th birthday.  If you are 18 years of age or older, you may register to vote at any time.

Register to vote by visiting the

  • State of Alaska Voter Registration System (OLVR) online, or
  • Alaska Region II Elections Office in person at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100. 

For more information, call (907) 522-VOTE (8683).

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What do I do if my residence address has changed?

If your residence address has changed, update your registration with the State of Alaska Division of Elections as soon as possible by visiting the

  • State of Alaska Voter Registration System (OLVR) online, or
  • Alaska Region II Elections Office in person at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100. 

If your residence address changes less than 30 days before an election, you will be required to vote a Questioned Ballot so that election officials can capture your new address to update the voter registration database.

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How do I cancel my State of Alaska voter registration?

Cancel your voter registration:

  • online, at the State of Alaska Division of Elections Website, Cancel Your Alaska Voter Registration webpage;
  • in person, at the Alaska Region II Elections Office, 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100; or
  • by phone, call (907) 522-VOTE (8683).

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Why did the Municipality of Anchorage change to Vote by Mail elections?

One reason Anchorage changed to Vote by Mail elections is to boost voter turnout.  Three states and dozens of local communities have changed to Vote by Mail elections. Voter turnout has markedly increased in most of those jurisdictions.

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How was the decision to change to Vote by Mail elections made?

The Anchorage Assembly asked the Municipal Clerk's Office to explore ways to increase the number of citizens voting. The research favored changing to vote by mail elections.

The Assembly wanted to know what the public thought about voting by mail. The Municipal Clerk's Office asked a group of people from businesses, non-profits, and others interested in elections and voting issues to join a "stakeholder group." After meeting a number of times to discuss voting methods, the group supported the Vote by Mail concept.

On March 8, 2016, the Assembly introduced a change to municipal c​ode to allow voting by mail. ​A public hearing was held and on March 22, 2016, the Assembly approved the change which established vote by mail as the method of choice for Municipal elections.

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For all Municipal Voting Information, call 907-243-VOTE (8683) or e-mail us at Elections@AnchorageAK.Gov.

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