Anchorage Votes and Vote by Mail:
The Municipality of Anchorage is moving to a Vote by Mail election system, supplemented by accessible voting centers, which will simplify and streamline the election process for Anchorage. The goals of a Vote by Mail system are to increase voter turnout, maximize voter protection, and safeguard community resources. Please click on this link to see and share our Vote by Mail brochure!
Vote by Mail 2017 Progress Report - updated September 21, 2017
Vote by Mail in the News!
History of Vote by Mail in Anchorage
On December 8, 2015, the Anchorage Assembly passed AR 2015-314(S) directing the Clerk's Office to explore implementing a Vote by Mail election process beginning with the April 2018 Regular Election.
In a vote by mail election, voters receive a ballot in the mail. Voters can research ballot questions, mark the ballot, and return the ballot in time to be counted.
Vote by mail elections are secure. The Municipal Clerk’s Office takes election security seriously and helps to keep elections secure by:
- Not connecting vote by mail equipment to the Internet.
- Checking that all signatures match those in State of Alaska voter records.
- Emptying ballot 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.
One reason Anchorage is switching to vote by mail elections is to boost voter turnout. Three states and dozens of local communities have switched to vote by mail elections. Voter turnout has significantly increased in most of those jurisdictions.
The Anchorage Assembly wants to increase the number of voters that vote in local elections. The Assembly asked the Clerk’s Office to explore ways to increase the number of citizens voting. The research favored switching to vote by mail elections.
The Assembly wanted to know what the public thought about voting by mail. So the Clerk’s Office asked a group of people from business, non-profits, and others interested in elections and voting issues to join a stakeholder group. After meeting a few times to discuss voting methods, the group supported the vote by mail concept.
On March 8, 2016, the Assembly introduced a change to municipal code to allow vote by mail and scheduled a public hearing. On March 22, 2016, the Assembly approved the change establishing voting by mail as the method of choice for Municipal elections after June 1, 2016.
Voters will receive ballot materials in the mail approximately three weeks before Election Day. Inside the envelope, voters will find an official ballot, a secrecy sleeve, instructions, and a return envelope.
Vote by mail step by step instructions will be similar those below.
- Use a black pen.
- Mark the ballot.
- Completely fill in the ovals next to your choices.
- Place the voted ballot into the security sleeve.
- Place the security sleeve with the voted ballot into the ballot return envelope.
- Complete the required information on the ballot return envelope.
- Sign where indicated on the ballot return envelope.
- Choose a return method.
- Add postage to the ballot return envelope and drop it into any USPS mailbox. The return envelope must be postmarked on or before Election Day. OR
- Drop the ballot return envelope containing the voted ballot into an official Municipality of Anchorage Elections ballot drop box. Ballot drop boxes will be open 24/7 approximately 3 weeks before the election. OR
- Deliver the return envelope containing the voted ballot to an Accessible Vote Center by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Visit www.muni.org/elections or call 907-243-VOTE (8683) for Accessible Vote Center hours of operation and other information.