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No need to wait: Early voting is an option this weekend

Kyle Hopkins
Dustin Tallman votes with his daughter Adelaene Tallman at his feet during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
William Kaufman puts his ballot in the box as election worker Pat Garrett helps out during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Dustin Tallman's daughter Adelaene Tallman got a voting sticker after dad voted during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
William Kaufman puts his ballot in the box as election worker Pat Garrett helps out during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Absentee Early and In-Person Voting for the general election is available at two locations in Anchorage through Nov. 5. City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue, 1st Floor, Suite 105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Region II Elections Office in the RAM Building at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 4, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Both locations will be open on Election Day, Nov. 6. For more information about Absentee Early and In-Person Voting locations visit www.elections.alaska.gov
Bill Roth
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Jamie Lindermann places her general election ballot into a ballot box as her husband Cole Lindermann casts his vote at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, two weeks before the general election. Absentee Early and In-Person Voting is available at two locations in Anchorage through Nov. 5, City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue, 1st Floor, Suite 105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Region II Elections Office in the RAM Building at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 4, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Both locations will be open on Election Day, Nov. 6. For more information about Absentee Early and In-Person Voting locations visit www.elections.alaska.gov
Bill Roth
Absentee Early and In-Person Voting for the general election is available at two locations in Anchorage through Nov. 5. City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue, 1st Floor, Suite 105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Region II Elections Office in the RAM Building at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 4, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Both locations will be open on Election Day, Nov. 6. For more information about Absentee Early and In-Person Voting locations visit www.elections.alaska.gov
Bill Roth
Jamie Lindermann places her general election ballot into a ballot box as her husband Cole Lindermann casts his vote at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, two weeks before the general election. Absentee Early and In-Person Voting is available at two locations in Anchorage through Nov. 5, City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue, 1st Floor, Suite 105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Region II Elections Office in the RAM Building at 2525 Gambell Street, Suite 100, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 4, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Both locations will be open on Election Day, Nov. 6. For more information about Absentee Early and In-Person Voting locations visit www.elections.alaska.gov
Bill Roth
Five-year-old Mateo Guillen patiently waited for his grandmother Rose Richardson to fill out her ballot while early voting at the State Division of Elections office on Gambell Street on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. Voters waited in line for about a hour to early vote at that location on Sunday afternoon.
Bill Roth
Troy Masalosalo, center, Colton Deason, left, and Merrill Westdahl, right, of Alison's Relocations set up voting booths at Dimond High on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in preparation for Election Day.
Bill Roth
Five-year-old Mateo Guillen patiently waited for his grandmother Rose Richardson to fill out her ballot while early voting at the State Division of Elections office on Gambell Street on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. Voters waited in line for about a hour to early vote at that location on Sunday afternoon.
Bill Roth
Karen Fink exits the State Division of Elections office after deciding not to wait in line for an hour to early vote on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. She said she win vote on Election Day.
Bill Roth
Troy Masalosalo, center, Colton Deason, left, and Merrill Westdahl, right, of Alison's Relocations set up voting booths at Dimond High on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in preparation for Election Day.
Bill Roth
Kalli Hannafious holds her daughter Averie Hannafious as she signs in to early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Karen Fink exits the State Division of Elections office after deciding not to wait in line for an hour to early vote on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. She said she win vote on Election Day.
Bill Roth
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Kalli Hannafious holds her daughter Averie Hannafious as she signs in to early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Susan Bramstedt puts her ballot in the box as election worker Pat Garrett helps out during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Susan Bramstedt puts her ballot in the box as election worker Pat Garrett helps out during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Dustin Tallman votes with his daughter Adelaene Tallman at his feet during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Early voting continued at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen
Dustin Tallman's daughter Adelaene Tallman got a voting sticker after dad voted during early voting at the Divisions of Elections Regional Offices on Gambell Street in Anchorage, AK on Friday, October 2, 2012. Early voting will continue through November 5th.
Bob Hallinen

There's still time to be an early bird.

Alaska Division of Elections offices in Anchorage and four other cities will be open for early voting this weekend for people who want to avoid Election Day lines but still want to see their vote appear on the first round of ballot results Tuesday night.

About 13,221 people had voted early as of Friday afternoon, said Division Director Gail Fenumiai. That's on pace to fall far short of the 24,512 who participated in early voting in 2008.

In another sign that turnout may be down in Alaska compared to the previous presidential election, the state mailed 45,769 absentee-by-mail ballots in 2008 but only 32,955 this year, Fenumiai said.

The 2008 ballot was loaded with heavyweight matchups, including Democrat Mark Begich versus Republican Ted Stevens in the U.S. Senate race and Democrat Ethan Berkowitz challenging Republican incumbent Don Young in the House. Sarah Palin's appearance on the presidential ticket heightened the drama.

"It's not as many (early voters) as we had when Sarah was running. They were up the steps. But it's busy," said Priscilla Fulford, an administrative clerk at the Division's regional election office in Wasilla.

In Anchorage, the place to cast an early ballot is 2525 Gambell Street, a glassy shoebox of an office building just south of Fireweed Lane. Election workers sat beside a table of pretzels and Tootsie Rolls at lunchtime Friday as 20 people thumbed their smart phones, waiting to show their ID.

Hillside resident Samantha Brow said she most recently tried to vote in the bungled April 3 Anchorage city elections. Her polling place ran out of ballots in that election, she said. This time she wasn't taking any chances.

Brow voted alongside a flight attendant who said she will be flying 30,000 feet above the ballot box on Election Day and a soldier who said he has to work Tuesday.

Including early voters, mail-in and in-person absentees and other kinds of early ballots, as many as 45,100 people have already cast ballots in the statewide election, Fenumiai said.

Of those, about 20,300 people received ballots by mail, more than 7,300 people had voted absentee in-person, and 1,800 participated in the state's new electronic voting option that allows people to download a ballot from a secure website, Fenumiai said.

Early voting continues through the weekend, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Regional Elections Offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Mat-Su, Fairbanks and Nome.

If you do not live in a district served by the regional office where you are voting, you will be asked to cast an absentee in-person ballot. Unlike early voting ballots, which will be counted on Election Day, absentee ballots are placed in an envelope and will be counted beginning Nov. 13, Fenumiai said.

All eligible votes will be counted within 15 days of the election, Fenumiai said.

Find more information on polling places and hours at www.elections.alaska.gov.

 

Twitter updates: twitter.com/adn_kylehopkins. Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at khopkins@adn.com.


By KYLE HOPKINS
khopkins@adn.com