OPINION: Election officials are your friends and neighbors

I have lived in Alaska since 1982, first in Juneau and then moving to Anchorage in 1988. Growing up in Oregon, my parents instilled in us the importance of voting and being engaged in matters of importance to us. I became a “super voter,” rarely missing any election over the years. For me, voting is an important civic duty.

As my sons grew up in Anchorage, I became involved in their school and education. I advocated for both the building and curriculum improvements, initially just at their school, then East Anchorage, and later for the whole district after I was elected and served three terms on the Anchorage School Board.

Because I had experienced firsthand how important it was to have a secure election process, I began volunteering as an election official after no longer being in office. At first, I took a day off from work when I could, and then began regularly working for state and local elections after I retired in 2015.

Local elections, like the one we are having on Tuesday, April 5, sometimes feel more important than state or presidential elections because the issues are closest to home. Local elections concern our local parks, schools, police and fire service, and city roads.

We are very lucky in the Municipality of Anchorage to have a strong vote at home/vote by mail system. Before vote by mail, many people unfortunately missed out on the chance to vote, because they couldn’t make it to the polls on election day due to conflicting work schedules or mobility challenges getting out of the house. Vote by mail increases the opportunity to vote for those people and gives all of us a chance to take our time to study the issues and vote at the time that works best for us.

To vote by mail, voters must 1. vote their ballot; 2. put the voted ballot in the secrecy sleeve and then in the ballot return envelope; and 3. mail the ballot return envelope with first class postage. Or, you can save postage and place the ballot return envelope in one of the 18 secure drop boxes placed throughout Anchorage. A map with the location to the secure drop boxes can be found on the Elections website at muni.org/elections.

For people who prefer in-person voting, Anchorage Vote Centers, or AVCs, are open, like the one I chair at Loussac Library. There are three AVCs in total: Loussac Library, City Hall, and Eagle River Town Center. All three AVCs are open this weekend between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 3. All three AVCs will be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.


Working as part of the MOA Elections team, I am continually impressed with the commitment to making voting as easy as possible and making sure that all voters have the resources they need to vote safely and securely. If you have any questions or concerns, or need last-minute help with voting, you can contact the Voter Hotline at 907-243-VOTE (8683). Remember, elections officials and workers are your friends and neighbors, and they are here to help.

As your neighbor, I hope you choose to vote, whether at home or in-person. If you choose to vote in person at the Loussac Library, I’ll look forward to seeing you.

Peggy Robinson is the AVC Chair at the Loussac Library. She has been an election official for the Municipality of Anchorage for the past seven years and resides in Anchorage.

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