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How to Vote in Alaska’s 2022 Elections

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En español | Alaska’s Aug. 16 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for U.S. House and Senate, state House and Senate, governor, lieutenant governor and more. A special general election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Don Young in Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat will take place on Primary Election Day.

What’s new this year?

Alaskans will use a new voting system this year, featuring a nonpartisan top four primary election and a ranked-choice voting general election.

And a new redistricting plan changed some boundaries of state legislative districts, which may affect which candidates appear on your ballot. Some districts are being contested in the courts, so check back for updates.

For general inquiries about 2022 elections, contact the Division of Elections at (907) 465-4611.

Essential info:

  • Absentee voting by mail is available to all voters for August’s primaries and special general election to replace Rep. Young, and November’s general election. Voters must apply to receive a ballot by mail. Note that absentee ballots require a witness signature.
  • Early in-person absentee voting is available to all voters. Most in-person absentee voting locations will open on Monday, Aug. 1 for the primaries and special general election, and Monday, Oct. 24, for the general election. Opening hours and days vary by location. Information will be available on the Division of Elections' website at least 45 days prior to each election.
  • In-person voting on Election Day is available to all voters for the primary election and special general on Tuesday, Aug. 16, and the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Information will be available on the Division of Elections' website at least 45 days prior to each election.

Does Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system affect the primaries?

Yes. The new system makes the primary nonpartisan — all candidates for each office are placed on a single ballot, regardless of political affiliation. All registered voters get this ballot, regardless of political affiliation, and may vote for one candidate per race. The top four vote-getters in each race advance to the general election, where voters may rank all candidates in order of preference for each race.

View sample ballots for the August 16 primary races and read more on ranked-choice voting on the Division of Elections' website.

How will ranked-choice voting work in the general elections?

For each race, voters will rank their choices in order of preference for each race. In the first round of vote counting, only voters’ first preferences are tallied. For a candidate to win, they must receive a majority — 50 percent plus one vote — of all first-choice votes cast. If no candidate gets a majority in the first round of counting, a second round is conducted in which the last-place candidate from round one is eliminated and his or her supporters’ votes are reallocated to their second preference. This process continues until one candidate reaches over 50 percent of the votes or until there are two candidates remaining and the candidate with the most votes wins.

View a sample ballot for the general election and read more on ranked-choice voting on the Division of Elections' website.

Video courtesy of AARP Alaska

How will the special elections to replace U.S. Rep. Don Young work?

The special primary election to replace U.S. Rep. Young, who died in March, concluded on June 11. The top four candidates who qualified for the special general election are (in order of most votes):

  1. Sarah Palin (R)
  2. Nick Begich (R)
  3. Al Gross (I), who has since withdrawn 
  4. Mary S. Peltola (D) 

The special general election, which will use Alaska's new ranked-choice voting system, is Tuesday, Aug. 16, Primary Election Day for the state’s other 2022 races.

Whoever wins the special general election will serve in Alaska's U.S House seat until early January, when Young’s term would have ended. Then whoever wins the regular November general election will start serving in January, when the next Congress is sworn in.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Any voter can request a no-excuse absentee ballot for the regular primaries and special general election, and the regular November general election. You need to submit a new request for absentee ballots each calendar year.

Absentee ballots are delivered to voters by mail, fax or an online system. You can apply for an absentee ballot to be mailed to you:

When applying by mail, fax, email or in person, you’ll need to provide a numerical identifier: either your Alaska driver’s license number, Alaska ID card number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Applications for an absentee ballot delivered by mail must be received by the Division of Elections 10 days before Election Day (Saturday, Aug. 6, for the primaries and special general election, and Saturday, Oct. 29, for the general election). Note that your signature must be handwritten; digital or typed signatures are not accepted.

Ballots are typically mailed to voters approximately 25 days before Election Day unless you requested an advanced ballot (for active military members, those living overseas, those living, working or traveling in remote Alaska and some others), which are mailed approximately 45 days prior to Election Day.

What if I miss the deadline to request a by-mail absentee ballot but need to vote absentee?

You can apply for an absentee ballot to be faxed or electronically delivered to you, but you must use a different application form that only becomes available on the Division of Elections website 15 days before Election Day (Monday, Aug. 1, for the primaries and special general election, and Monday, Oct. 24, for the general election). Completed applications for faxed or electronically delivered absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. the day before Election Day.

If you request a by-fax absentee ballot, your ballot will be faxed to you 24 to 48 hours after receipt of your application with instructions on how to complete it.

If you request an electronically delivered ballot, you’ll need an email address, access to a computer and a printer. You’ll be emailed a link to your digital ballot 24 to 48 hours after receipt of your application with instructions on how to complete it. Note that your digital ballot cannot be submitted electronically; it must be printed and returned in a hard-copy form.

How do I submit my completed absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Completed absentee ballots require a witness signature and must be accompanied by at least one voter identifier: either your voter registration number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, date of birth, Alaska driver’s license number or Alaska ID card number.

Return completed ballots:

  • By mail: Mail your completed ballot to the return address provided with your ballot. The completed ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted.
  • In person: Drop off your completed ballot at any Division of Elections office or any voting location by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • By fax: But only if you requested a by-fax or electronically delivered absentee ballot. Fax your completed ballot to the number provided with your ballot before 8 p.m. on Election Day. Election officials note that when you return a ballot by fax you are voluntarily waiving your right to a secret ballot and are assuming the risk that a faulty transmission may occur.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Yes. You can check the status of both your absentee ballot application and your completed absentee ballot through the state’s voter information portal. Note that this tool will not provide tracking information to voters who elected to keep their residence address private. Instead, those voters must contact the Absentee and Petition Office at 907-270-2700 or toll-free within the U.S. at 877-375-6508 or akabsentee@alaska.gov.

A polling places in Eagle River, Alaska, during the 2020 general election.
A polling places in Eagle River, Alaska, during the 2020 general election.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Yes, at in-person absentee voting locations. Most locations open 15 days before Election Day (Monday, Aug. 1, for the primaries and special general election, and Monday, Oct. 24, for the regular general election), however, opening dates and times may vary by location. Visit Alaska’s early and in-person absentee voting locations page, which will post locations approximately one month prior to election days.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The special general election and primary elections are Tuesday, Aug. 16. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Use the state's polling place information page to find your polling place and note that it may have changed due to recent redistricting.

Do I need identification to vote?

Yes. When voting in person, you’ll be asked for your voter ID card, driver’s license, state ID, military ID, passport, hunting or fishing license, or another current valid photo ID. If you don’t have one of these IDs, you may present a current utility bill, paycheck, government check, bank statement or another government-issued document. If an election official knows the identity of the voter, the official can waive the ID unless it’s a first-time voter who registered without providing identification.

What races are on the ballot?

  • U.S. Senate: one seat, currently held by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who’s running for reelection
  • U.S. House: Alaska’s one seat, which was held by the late-Republican Representative Don Young
  • State Senate: 19 of 20 seats, due to recent redistricting
  • State House: All 40 seats
  • Governor 
  • Lieutenant Governor 

How do I register to vote?

Note that most Alaskans are automatically registered to vote when they apply for a Permanent Fund Dividend unless they opt out. You can check if you’re registered to vote through the state’s voter information portal.

Those who need to register can do so:

  • Online: Use the state’s online voter registration system to register or update your registration. You’ll need a current Alaska driver’s license or Alaska ID card.
  • By email, mail or fax: Print out a voter registration application, complete and sign it, then email, mail or fax it to any Division of Elections office. You’ll need to provide the last four numbers of your Social Security number or a copy of either your current Alaska driver’s license, Alaska ID card, passport or birth certificate.
  • In person: Go to any Division of Elections office or visit a voting registration agency in your area, which includes Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices, public assistance agencies, participating public libraries and participating tribal government offices. You’ll need a current Alaska driver’s license, Alaska ID card, passport, military ID card, hunting or fishing license, birth certificate, or another current and valid photo ID.

The deadline to register or change your registration information is Sunday, July 17, for the primaries and special general election, and Sunday, Oct. 9, for the general election. A mail-in application postmarked on these dates is acceptable.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Aug. 4, 2022, with information on AARP's upcoming teletown halls.

Also of Interest:

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