Editor’s note: Election results are expected to be posted starting around 9 p.m., according to the Alaska Division of Elections.
Tuesday is Election Day. It’s a day that will settle several high-profile statewide Alaska races in a fateful midterm election that will determine control of the U.S. House and Senate. Alaska voters will also choose a governor, whether to call a constitutional convention, whether to retain 29 state judges and the makeup of the state Legislature, with 59 of 60 legislative seats up for grabs following a once-a-decade redistricting process.
Here’s a rundown:
Casting a ballot
Alaska’s polls are open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are in line when polls close, stay in line because you can still vote.
You can find your polling place online at the Division of Elections website or by calling 907-465-4611. Check your polling location closely because it may have changed due to redistricting.
Check the status of your voter registration at myvoterinformation.alaska.gov.
In Anchorage, People Mover and AnchorRIDES buses are free on Election Day.
Alaskans are required to show identification at their polling place. That includes a voter ID card, driver’s license or other state-issued identification card, passport, birth certificate, military ID, hunting or fishing license or even a paycheck or utility bill that shows the voter’s name and current address.
If you have no ID, you can still vote but it will be on a “questioned ballot,” which will be counted later after your voter registration is verified by a bipartisan commission.
Tuesday is also the last day to send in absentee ballots by mail. To make sure your ballot is postmarked by the Election Day deadline, voters can take their ballot directly to the post office and have it hand-canceled. Voters can drop off their absentee ballots at any polling location, absentee in-person voting location or Division of Elections regional office.
If you need language assistance at the polling place, you can call the Alaska Division of Elections toll free at 1-866-954-8683
Ranked choice voting
Alaskans had their first taste of ranked choice voting in the August special U.S. House election. On the November ballot, virtually all voters will be able to vote in five separate ranked-choice contests for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state Senate and state House.
The new system was adopted by voters in 2020. Under the system, up to four candidates advanced from the August open primary regardless of party affiliation. Voters can rank all candidates in any given race but will not be penalized for ranking fewer candidates.
One side of the ballot is all ranked-choice questions. On the other side are yes-no questions, including a once-in-a-decade question on whether to hold a constitutional convention and judicial retention questions for 29 state judges.
This is how to vote a ranked-choice ballot: Mark a ballot for up to four candidates for each race or write in a candidate. Don’t skip a ranking or give the same candidate two different rankings.
Once polls close, election officials will begin counting first-choice ballots cast on Election Day and those cast at a handful of early voting locations before Nov. 3.
First results will be released by election officials around 9 p.m. Tuesday, with additional results released later in the evening as more ballots are counted. There’s no centralized place to watch the tallies come in. Instead, candidates will gather with their campaigns.
But not all ballots will be counted on election night — thousands of absentee ballots will be counted in subsequent days, and those have been known to flip close races in previous years. As of Monday, the Division of Elections had received just over 35,000 absentee ballots.
Results posted Tuesday will only include first-choice votes in ranked choice races. Second, third, and subsequent choice votes won’t be known until the Division of Elections tabulates ranked choice results on Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, after the division receives and counts all ballots.
Counting will continue over the course of 15 days following Tuesday and election officials are expected to release preliminary results seven days after Election Day, 10 days after Election Day and 15 days after Election Day. They could release results on additional days as well.
A review of the races will take place Nov. 23. If one candidate gets over 50% of first-choice votes, the counting ends. If no candidate does, the tabulation process is used and voters’ other choices come into play. The Division of Election is set to release tabulation results via livestream on Nov. 23, starting at 4 p.m.