Alaskans who ran into website glitches in the opening weeks of the Permanent Fund Dividend application period may not have given to the "Pick. Click. Give" program.
Issues with a new electronic signature application, among other factors, disrupted the process for some 16,000 people, said Dan DeBartolo, director of the Permanent Fund Dividend Division. The problems were most prevalent during the first three days of the application period.
No one had a problem filing the application itself and receiving a confirmation number, DeBartolo said. The trouble came while attaching an electronic signature certifying the PFD information.
"That's where some people were getting stuck this year," DeBartolo said. People reported computer screens freezing or crashing.
Then, when some applicants exited the window, they did not continue on to the "Pick. Click. Give." page, where Alaskans can choose to donate a portion of their PFD to some 500 nonprofits.
DeBartolo says most of the glitches have now been fixed and people who missed the option to "Pick. Click. Give." can still do so. On the application homepage, pfd.alaska.gov, a green button reads "Add or Change Your Pick.Click.Give Donation."
March 31 is the deadline to file for PFDs, but people can add, change or delete a charitable contribution through Aug. 30.
"It's easy to do, it just takes a few minutes," said Heather Beaty, program director for "Pick. Click. Give."
Last week, the state sent an email to the 16,000 Alaskans who did not submit an electronic signature page, and included a reminder about "Pick. Click. Give."
Officials recommend anybody completing the signature process use a computer rather than a mobile device. The number of people who sign up using handheld devices has "gone through the roof," DeBartolo said, but some people weren't seeing the button for the "Pick. Click. Give" option.
As of Thursday evening, the state had received more than 194,000 PFD applications, according to its online ticker -- about 55,000 fewer than this time last year, DeBartolo said. That drop, unrelated to the website problems, may suggest applicants are spreading out their activity this year, he said.
In 2013, 83 percent of all applicants filed online.
Reach Devin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4314.