A new online absentee ballot application system has been implemented by the Alaska Division of Elections. Alaskans may now apply online for absentee ballots, making it easier to vote by mail in the 2020 primary election (Tuesday, Aug. 18) and general election (Tuesday, Nov. 3). Anyone with a valid Alaska driver’s license/ID card may utilize the Online Absentee Ballot Application system, provided the information entered when applying matches the information on the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record.
While Alaska law permits voters to request a ballot by mail for any reason, before the change, absentee voters were required to submit a paper form to the Division of Elections. The paper application process is still available as an alternative to the online form, including for those who do not have a valid Alaska driver’s license/ID card or whose current information does not match the DMV record.
Widespread concern about COVID-19 is setting the stage for a record-breaking election for votes by mail. While one in five Americans voted by mail in 2016, experts predict as many as half of all registered voters could send in their ballots in 2020.
In Alaska, applications for by-mail ballots must be received 10 days before Election Day. The State plans to send paper absentee ballot applications to all registered voters 65 years of age and older. Ballot applications will be reviewed by the Division and, once cleared, the Division will schedule mailing a voting packet to the voter. The voting packet will include a ballot, a return mailing envelope that contains the voter certificate and identification requirements, instructions and a gray secrecy sleeve. After affixing the specified amount of postage to the return envelope, completed ballots should be returned by mail and must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
Alaskans who wish to cast their ballot in person may still do so. Most in-person voting locations will open 15 days prior to each Election Day and remain open through Election Day.
Alaska Native people worked long and hard to gain the right to vote! Honor their legacy by registering to vote or updating any outdated voter registration information at voterregistration.alaska.gov. To apply online for an absentee ballot, visit absenteeballotapplication.alaska.gov.