Politics

Register to vote by Sunday to participate in Alaska’s first ranked choice election

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Sunday is the deadline to register to vote in Alaska’s ranked choice election to fill the state’s lone U.S. House seat, which will take place Aug. 16. It is also the registration deadline for the primary election for governor, U.S. Senate, the full two-year U.S. House term, and 59 state legislative races that will take place on the same August day.

Alaskans can register to vote online by July 17 with a valid Alaska driver’s license or state ID. Voters can also check their voter registration status online.

As of the primary election last month, Alaska had just over 587,000 registered voters.

Unlike the by-mail primary race for the special U.S. House election, the special general election will rely on traditional, in-person voting. Voters can request an absentee ballot online by Aug. 6. In person voting will begin Aug. 1. The voting locations list has not yet been finalized, and the Division of Elections is still actively recruiting election workers.

[Alaska voters weigh a new system as first ranked choice election approaches]

Sample ballots are now available on the Alaska Division of Elections website. For those filling out paper ballots, one side asks voters to choose their top candidate in the primary races for the governor and lieutenant governor race, the U.S. Senate race, the U.S. House race, and state Senate and House (except in one Senate district). The other side will ask voters to rank the candidates in the general special U.S. House election.

Candidates in that race are Democrat Mary Peltola and Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich. Voters can also write in another name and rank it, but a write-in candidate will only advance if they come in first or a close second in the initial results.

Results of the special general election are expected to be certified by Sept. 2. First choice results will be reported election night, with additional vote counts expected a week, 10 days and two weeks after election day.

The winner of the special election will serve the last four months of U.S. Rep. Don Young’s term. Young died suddenly in March, triggering the special election.

A total of 22 U.S. House candidates — including all three of the candidates in the special U.S. House election — are running in the August primary to fill the two-year term beginning in January 2023.

In the Senate race, 19 candidates are running, including incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Trump-backed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka and Democrat Pat Chesbro, who has the support of the Alaska Democratic Party.

There are 10 tickets in the gubernatorial race, where candidates for governor are paired with lieutenant governor candidates. The candidates for governor includes Republican incumbent Mike Dunleavy, independent former Gov. Bill Walker, Democratic former lawmaker Les Gara, Republican state lawmaker Christopher Kurka and Republican Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, among others.

Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The Associated Press and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

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