Anchorage vote-by-mail election proceeds on schedule; ballots go to voters Tuesday

Anchorage’s municipal election will continue as scheduled, the city’s clerk said Monday. But as the city escalates its response to the coronavirus emergency, the Anchorage Assembly is preparing to give the clerk special powers to change some elements of the election if needed.

Ballots will be sent to Anchorage voters on Tuesday and must be returned no later than April 7.

“We’re going to encourage people to vote as soon as possible, turn their ballot in, because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” municipal clerk Barbara Jones said.

The Anchorage Assembly is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Friday. On the agenda are a slate of coronavirus-related items, including an “emergency plan for elections.”

That plan would allow the clerk to change drop-box locations, close accessible-vote centers or adjust the deadline for temporary changes of address.

Two vote centers — at Loussac Library and Chugiak-Eagle River Library — have already been closed because the libraries are closed.

Democratic vote proceeding


Alaska’s Democratic voters are also voting by mail ahead of their April 4 presidential primary. Registered Democrats should have received their ballots already.

So far, that election is also unaffected by the coronavirus emergency. But as with the Anchorage election, the party is urging voters to mail their ballots quickly.

“In light of the latest developments, we are actively encouraging as many Democrats as possible to use the mail-in option and return their ballots postmarked by the deadline of March 24,” said Jeanne Devon, the party’s spokeswoman.

Devon said the party hasn’t yet changed its plans to offer in-person voting at a limited number of locations on April 4.

Eight candidates are listed on the ballot because several candidates withdrew from the race after the printing deadline. Votes other than those cast for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Tulsi Gabbard will not be counted, Devon said. (Elizabeth Warren ended her presidential campaign on March 5.)

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.