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Almost 4 in 10 Alaska Democrats have requested absentee ballots amid record interest

  • Author: James Brooks
  • Updated: October 14, 2020
  • Published October 14, 2020

Sheri Boggs takes a photo with her completed 2020 general election ballot before placing it in the dropbox outside the Division of Elections office on Gambell St. in Anchorage on Oct. 13, 2020. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

Thirty-eight percent of Alaska’s registered Democrats have signed up to vote absentee by mail this year, according to data released Tuesday night by the Division of Elections.

That’s double the proportion of registered Republicans. Only 16% of independent voters — undeclared and nonpartisan — have signed up to vote remotely.

Three weeks before Election Day, 114,900 Alaskans have signed up to vote absentee amid record interest caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Four years ago, only 41,491 Alaskans requested absentee ballots before Election Day.

State law allows Alaskans to vote absentee for any reason, but voters must sign up before Oct. 24 if they want to receive a ballot through the mail. (The U.S. Postal Service recommends signing up by Oct. 20.)

Through Tuesday night, 16,670 Alaskans had filled out and returned their ballots. That’s 2.8% of the state’s 594,474 registered voters.

Those votes will not be counted until at least seven days after Election Day.

The Division of Elections is reminding voters to fill out their ballots carefully: While a state judge has eliminated the requirement that absentee ballots be co-signed by a witness at least 18 years old, voters still must fill out all other information on the absentee ballot envelope.

If a voter misses a step, their ballot will be rejected, and the Division of Elections doesn’t notify the voters of rejected ballots until after the election.

As of Tuesday morning, 133 ballots had already been rejected.