Alaska election updates: Two polling places didn’t open until afternoon because of staffing issues, according to state elections officials

Update, 8 p.m.: Polls have now closed in Alaska. Results are expected starting around 9 p.m., according to the Alaska Division of Elections. Check back on adn.com for full coverage.

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Update, 7:20 p.m.: All 401 polling places in Alaska have now opened, the Division of Elections said in a late afternoon update. Precincts in Teller and Nuiqsut did not open until afternoon because of problems securing poll workers to staff them, the division said in a written statement.

The mayor of Nuiqsut, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, confirmed around 7 p.m. that residents were voting.

”They just opened the polls one hour ago,” Resident Merna Gray said around 6:40 p.m. “Hopefully they can get everyone in the village if they close the polls at 8.”

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Update, 4:25 p.m.: The polling place in Nuiqsut, a community of 542 people in the North Slope Borough, hadn’t opened as of Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., said Alaska Rep. Josiah Patkotak, whose district that includes the community.

“It sounds like whoever they had lined up to work the polls backed out or wasn’t available,” Patkotak said. Efforts were being made to get the word out on VHF radio and gather substitute workers, he said. The idea was to have the polling place open by late afternoon.

The Division of Elections did not immediately respond to a question about whether Nuiqsut residents had been able to vote or not, and why.

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Original story:

Election Day is here, and Alaskans around the state are voting.

Alaska has 401 polling places, ranging from community centers to elementary schools to ferry terminals. Some are more formal than others: In Tanana, one of the official voting locations is “Donna Folger’s House.”

Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 8 p.m.

In some areas of the state, bad weather had threatened to complicate precincts opening. As of 4 p.m., the Division of Elections hadn’t answered a question about whether all polling places had been able to open Tuesday.

[Election Day in Alaska: Where and when to vote, what’s on the ballot and when to expect results]

One polling place had moved: In the Yukon River village of Beaver, the polling place was relocated from the Beaver Council House to Cruikshank School at 310 River Road, elections officials said. The division advises checking the official map of polling places for correct voting site information.

The storm has died down and the polls are officially open! Mayor Moto got to the Borough offices before the polls...

Posted by Northwest Arctic Borough on Tuesday, November 8, 2022

In Anchorage, voters reported moderate turnout and before-work lines at a few Anchorage polling places. Election monitors wearing badges were spotted at Anchorage polling sites including Tudor Elementary School and Turnagain Elementary School.

Liese Munter is a poll worker at a voting precinct located at Hillside O’Malley Seventh-day Adventist Church.

When she arrived early Tuesday morning, a moose was “kinda wandering in the woods.” Around 8:45 a.m. he strolled over to the building to lick salt off the steps of the doorway, blocking it. It was not a case of moose voter intimidation, she said. Volunteers just sent voters to the other entrance.

”It was just an Alaska moment,” Munter said.

The Anchorage Federal Bureau of Investigation office reminded voters Tuesday to report any suspected election-related crimes — such as voter fraud or intimidation — to the FBI. Spokesperson Chloe Martin said the department doesn’t comment on allegations received from the public, but “we take all election-related threats seriously.”

Instances of voter fraud or other abuse can be reported to the Anchorage FBI office at 907-276-4441 or at tips.fbi.gov.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.