Q&A: How to vote by mail in Anchorage in 2018

Anchorage is preparing to do away with voting precincts and hold a vote-by-mail April 2018 election, the state's first.

Here are answers to a few questions you may have at this point, based on information from the city clerk's office and elections officials.

When will I receive my ballot?

Ballots will be mailed 21 days before Election Day. They will come as first-class mail, which typically takes between one and three days to arrive.

[Here's how Anchorage's 2018 vote-by-mail election will work]

When do I need to return the ballot by? 

A ballot needs to be postmarked by Election Day or placed in one of 12 secure drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters can also head to one of a few accessible vote centers in the city and cast a ballot before 8 p.m. on Election Day.


Do I have to pay for postage?

Voters will have to use a first-class stamp to mail a ballot back. Or, voters can drop off ballots in a drop box or head to a voting center. Ninety percent of Anchorage residents will live within 5 miles of a drop box, said deputy city clerk Amanda Moser.

What's the city doing to prevent voter fraud? 

Verifying the signature on a mailed-in envelope will be the main method of preventing fraud, Moser said. Signatures will be scanned and compared by two different elections officials with signatures in a database from prior elections.

What if I live outside Anchorage during the winter?

Ballots will be mailed to the voter's registered mailing address. Election mail can't be forwarded, and absentee ballot applications will also be available starting next week on the Anchorage city clerk's website.

What if I just moved here and have never voted before?

When you register to vote in Alaska, the city will use the address and signature from your registration form, Moser said.

How will I be contacted if there's a problem with my ballot?

Elections officials will send a letter in the mail as soon as a problem comes up, Moser said. Voters will also be given the option to write a phone number on the envelope containing the ballot.

I voted. Then the candidate I voted for did something I didn't like. Can I change my vote before Election Day?

You can't change your vote. The city clerk's office will accept the first ballot it receives.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.