AARP Eye Center
En español | Alaska is one of the few states in the country that uses ranked-choice voting, in which voters rank several candidates for each elected position based on their preference.
The 2022 midterms decided races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state House and Senate, governor and more. The next statewide election is in 2024, with some cities, including Juneau, holding municipal elections in 2023.
- Upcoming elections: Information about statewide elections is available at the Alaska Division of Elections website.
- Absentee voting by mail: is available to all Alaskans. Voters must apply to receive a ballot by mail. Note that absentee ballots require a witness signature.
- Early and in-person absentee voting: is available to all Alaska voters. Although many in-person voting sites open 15 days before an election, opening hours and days vary by location. More information will be available on the Division of Elections website closer to an election.
- Voting at the polls: Bring your voter ID card, driver’s license or other valid form of ID.
Have there been any recent changes to voting in Alaska?
Alaska implemented a new voting system in 2022, featuring a nonpartisan top-four primary election and a ranked-choice voting general election.
An interim redistricting plan in 2022 changed some boundaries of state legislative districts. A legal challenge is ongoing.
For general inquiries, contact the Division of Elections at 907-465-4611.
How does ranked-choice voting work?
The state’s nonpartisan top-four primary elections determine the candidates in each race who are advancing to the general election. All candidates for each office are placed on a single ballot, and all registered voters get this ballot, regardless of political affiliation. Voters must select one candidate per race.
For each race in the general election, voters will rank their choices in order of preference. In the first round of vote counting, only voters’ first preferences are tallied. For a candidate to win, he or she must receive a majority — 50 percent plus one vote — of all first-choice votes cast. If no candidate gets a majority, 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.
Read more about ranked-choice voting on the Division of Elections website.
How can I get a by-mail absentee ballot?
Absentee ballots are delivered to voters by mail, fax or an online system. Any voter can apply for a by-mail absentee ballot:
- Online: Use the state’s online absentee ballot application system. You’ll need a valid Alaska driver's license or state ID. The information you enter must match the information on your Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record.
- By mail: Download and complete the absentee ballot application, then send it to the Absentee and Petition Office. You also can ask the Absentee and Petition Office to mail you the application. Call 907-270-2700 or 877-375-6508 (toll-free within the U.S.) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- By email: Download and complete the absentee ballot application, then email it as a PDF, TIFF or JPEG file to email@example.com.
- By fax: Download and complete the absentee ballot application, then fax it to the Absentee and Petition Office on 907-677-9943 or 855-677-9943 (toll-free within the U.S.).
- In person: Visit the Absentee and Petition Office or any Division of Elections office.
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.
By-mail absentee ballot applications must be received no later than 10 days before an election.
Ballots start being mailed to voters approximately 25 days before Election Day. Advanced ballots for active military members, those living overseas and some others are mailed approximately 45 days before 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 becomes available 15 days before Election Day. Completed applications for faxed or electronically delivered absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. the day before an election.
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.
How do I submit my completed absentee ballot?
Completed absentee ballots must include a witness signature and 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. It must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
- 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?
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 residential 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I vote in person before Election Day?
Yes, at in-person absentee and early voting locations. Many in-person voting sites open 15 days before an election, but opening hours and days vary by location. More information will be available on the Division of Elections website closer to an election.
What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?
Use the state's polling place information page to find your polling place.
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.
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. Check if you’re registered to vote through the state’s voter information portal.
Register online, by email or mail, or in person:
- 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 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 valid photo ID.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Dec. 2, 2022, with more information about voting in Alaska.
Also of Interest:
- Follow AARP's political coverage at aarp.org/elections
- Keep up with local events and AARP advocacy efforts at states.aarp.org/alaska