Anchorage voter turnout so far higher than last regular mayoral election

In Anchorage’s regular city election, voter turnout this year so far is slightly higher than in 2021 during the last regular mayoral election, according to daily ballot return data from the city’s election center. But it’s not yet clear whether that means more people are voting this year, if Anchorage voters are casting their ballots earlier, or possibly both.

On voters’ ballots this year is the race for Anchorage mayor, with incumbent Mayor Dave Bronson vying for a second term against 9 challengers, including former Anchorage Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance, former Democratic state lawmaker Chris Tuck and former Anchorage economic development official Bill Popp. Three school board seats and 9 bonds and propositions are also on the ballot. Voters in Eagle River, Chugiak and Birchwood will also see an Anchorage Assembly seat on their ballots with one candidate running unopposed.

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Typically, Anchorage sees a higher voter turnout during mayoral elections than during years without the mayor’s race on the ballot.

As of Monday — with eight days to go until the final day to vote on April 2 — the election center had received a total of 22,252 ballot packages from voters, returned by mail, in secure drop boxes and in-person at the election center. That’s 1,589 more ballots than the city had received eight days before the last mayoral election in 2021 — a roughly 8% increase.

Still, that’s lower voter turnout so far than in the 2018 mayoral race — 3,527 fewer ballots have been returned than at the same time before election day in 2018. That year’s race saw a turnout of 36.3%, smashing the city’s previous voter turnout record from 2012. In 2018, after years of consistently low voter turnout, the city switched to a vote-by-mail system in an effort to encourage voting.

The voter turnout record was broken again in 2021 during the mayoral runoff race, which saw 38.4% turnout, when Bronson clinched a narrow victory over then-Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, now a Democratic state senator. Leading up to that runoff race, the 2021 regular election saw lower turnout, with 15 candidates for mayor on the ballot.

With 10 mayoral candidates this year, it’s likely there will be a runoff race between the top two. If a candidate does not receive more than 45% of the vote in the regular election, the two candidates with the highest percentage of the vote will advance to a runoff race.


More than 206,700 ballot packages were mailed out to voters on March 12. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before April 2. (To make sure their votes are counted, voters mailing their ballots on April 2 should ask a postal worker to hand stamp, or “hand cancel” their ballot envelope.)

On Monday, Anchorage’s three vote centers opened for in-person voting.

Located in downtown at City Hall, in Midtown at the Loussac Library and in Eagle River at the Eagle River Town Center, the vote centers are open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day to vote is Tuesday, April 2, and vote centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.

At the vote centers, registered voters can cast ballots in person and get a replacement ballot if their original was lost or damaged, or if the voter did not receive a ballot. Voters can also drop off their mailed ballots at vote centers. Also, this year the city has new voting machines at the three vote centers to better accommodate people with disabilities.

Voters can also return their ballots via the 18 secure drop boxes located around the municipality. The city has an online map of drop box locations. Drop boxes will close at 8 p.m. on April 2.

The first round of preliminary election results will be published online by city election staff after 8:30 p.m. on April 2. They will continue to tally ballots for several days. Certification of election results is scheduled for April 23 during the regular Assembly meeting.

If a runoff election is necessary, the second round of ballots would be mailed to voters on April 30, and ballots would need to be returned or postmarked on or before May 14.

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Emily Goodykoontz

Emily Goodykoontz is a reporter covering Anchorage local government and general assignments. She previously covered breaking news at The Oregonian in Portland before joining ADN in 2020. Contact her at