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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!

December 8, 2015 – Alaska Dispatch News  - Anchorage Assembly endorses vote-by-mail election in 2017
December 8, 2015 Alaska Public Media - Anchorage migrates toward mail-in elections
March 22, 2016 – Alaska Dispatch News - Future Anchorage Elections to be done primarily by mail
March 24, 2016 – KTVA - Anchorage assembly members approve vote-by-mail elections
February 9, 2017 – KTVA - Anchorage’s first vote-by-mail election will not be in April as planned
March 2, 2017 – Alaska Dispatch News  - Anchorage gets new elections center in Ship Creek warehouse
April 4, 2017 – KTVA - Next year’s municipal election to see mail-in ballots only
April 4, 2017 – KTUU -  Voting locations see election day problems due to “aging equipment”
August 21, 2017 – KTVA - Special delivery means big changes for Anchorage voters.
August 21, 2017 – Alaska Public Media - Meet the machine handling Anchorage’s next election
September 15, 2017 - Alaska Dispatch News - Anchorage voters, next spring we mail it in
September 22, 2017 - Alaska Dispatch News - Here's how Anchorage's 2018 vote-by-mail election will work
September 22, 2017 - Alaska Dispatch News - Q&A: How to vote by mail in Anchorage in 2018

October 6, 2017 - Senior Voice - Anchorage voters cast ballots by mail
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.

Vote by Mail FAQ

What is vote by mail?
Are vote by mail elections secure?
Why is Anchorage switching to vote by mail elections?
How was the decision to vote by mail made?
How will voters vote in Anchorage vote by mail elections?

What is vote by mail?

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.

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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 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.
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Why is Anchorage switching to vote by mail elections?

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.

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How was the decision to vote by mail made?

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.

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How will voters vote in Anchorage vote by mail elections?

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.
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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.
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Executive Steering Committee:

Ernie Hall

Elvi Gray-Jackson

Dick Traini

Benefits of Vote By Mail Elections:

  • Keep regular voters engaged.
  • Encourage new voter participation.
  • Stop attempts at fraud using signature verification.
  • Use technology to inform voters about the status of their ballot.
  • Confer no partisan advantage.
  • Centralize and streamline election administration.
  • Increase transparency in the election process.
  • Protect voters’ rights to secret ballot.