Early voting has started for Alaska’s primary election. Here’s what you need to know.

Early voting has started for Alaska's Aug. 21 statewide primary election.

The primary will set up the slate of candidates for the Nov. 6 general election, narrowing the field for offices including Alaska's U.S. House representative, governor and lieutenant governor.

Here's what you need to know about early voting.

Who can vote early?

Anyone registered to vote in Alaska.

How do I check if I'm registered to vote? 

Go to myvoterinformation.alaska.gov.


If you haven't registered to vote yet, you won't be able to vote in the primary election. The deadline was July 22.  But if you want to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, you have until Oct. 7 to register.

If I want to vote early in the primary, where do I go and when? 

Early voting started Monday and runs through Alaska's primary election day, Aug. 21. You can vote early at certain locations in Anchorage, Wasilla, Juneau, Fairbanks and Nome, regardless of what district you are in. In Anchorage, head to either City Hall or the Region II Elections Office at 2525 Gambell St.

(For more voting locations and their hours, go to elections.alaska.gov.)

What should I bring to vote early?

Bring a form of identification, such as a voter ID card, driver's license or passport.

What's on the ballot?

Candidates for these offices will appear on the ballot: U.S. House representative, governor, lieutenant governor, state House and state Senate.

The candidates who prevail in the primary will face off in the general election.

Which primary races can I vote in? 

By law, Alaska's political parties choose who they let participate in their primary elections.

Only registered Republicans and undeclared and nonpartisan voters can select a Republican primary ballot at the polls.

On another ballot are Democratic, Libertarian and Alaska Independence candidates as well as candidates who are registered undeclared or nonpartisan. Any voter can request this ballot.

Voters can select only one of the two ballots. View sample ballots by House district here.

[Independents can run in party primaries, Alaska Supreme Court says, opening door for Gov. Walker]

How do I know which House district I'm in?

The Alaska Division of Elections has a list and maps of House districts on its website.


How do I vote absentee?

Alaskans can vote absentee in one of four ways: in person, by mail, by fax or by a special-needs ballot, according to the Division of Elections.

In-person absentee voting started Monday. Anyone can vote this way. Alaskans do not need an excuse, as some other states require. For absentee voting locations in your community, check with the elections division.

(The difference between in-person absentee voting and early voting: An early voter's eligibility is verified at the time of voting and then, if verified, their ballot is placed directly into the ballot box. Absentee ballots go into an envelope and the voter's eligibility is later reviewed.)

Any registered voter can also request an absentee ballot by mail. You must apply by Aug. 11. To get an absentee ballot by fax or through an online delivery system, apply by 5 p.m. Aug. 20. (More on that here.)

Voters must return online absentee ballots by fax or mail this year. Given the threat of foreign cyberattacks, the ballots cannot be returned online, according to State Elections Director Josie Bahnke.

Voters unable to go to the polls because of age, serious illness or a disability can have a personal representative pick up their ballot. (For more information on special needs voting, go to elections.alaska.gov.)

How many people voted in Alaska's last primary?


In the 2016 primary election, 88,817 people voted, or about 17 percent of registered voters, according to the Division of Elections. In 2014, the most recent primary election that featured the governor's race, turnout was about 39 percent, or 193,097 voters.

As of early August, about 567,400 people were registered to vote in Alaska.

What happens on Aug. 21?

Aug. 21 is Alaska's primary election day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Unofficial election results will be posted online after 9 p.m., according to the Division of Elections.

The general election is Nov. 6. (There's early voting for that, too, but we'll talk about that later.)

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.