Anchorage, AK – A Native leadership team dedicated to increasing Alaskan voter turnout announced it has helped 176 villages sign up as absentee in-person voting sites for the upcoming primary and general elections. The number will change slightly after today’s 5 p.m. deadline.
The team, with representatives from the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), the ANCSA Regional Association, and Get Out The Native Vote (GOTNV), agreed to assist the Division of Elections in creating absentee in-person voting sites in villages that either did not have one or needed to reestablish themselves officially with the state.
“That’s 176 more ways for Alaskans to get involved,” said Tara Sweeney, AFN Co-Chair. “Voting is a constitutional right as well as our civic duty. Better voter access is a goal all Americans strive for. This early voting option should make voting in rural areas easier and will hopefully improve voter turn-out across Alaska.”
“Absentee voting is an absolutely essential part of Alaska’s electoral process,” said Jason Metrokin, Chair, ANCSA Regional Association. “Many rural voters are busy during election season with subsistence activities and may not be near their polling place on Election Day. By creating these “absentee in-person” early voting sites, we are affording rural Alaskans the same opportunities as urban Alaskans.”
AFN Co-Chair Ana Hoffman said, “We call on all Alaskans to exercise their right to vote, with a special call to fellow rural Alaskans to take advantage of this new opportunity available to them in their villages. Let’s make voter turnout something to be proud of in our state! Please register and go vote!”
What is the difference between absentee in-person voting and early voting?
When voting absentee in-person, the voter’s eligibility to vote is verified after the voter is issued a ballot. Since the voter’s eligibility can not be verified at the time of voting, the voter’s voted ballot is placed inside an absentee voting envelope prior to being placed in the ballot box.
When voting early, the voter’s eligibility to vote is verified at the time of voting through the Division of Elections statewide voter registration system. A voter is eligible to vote early if the voter is voting at the Regional Elections Office where the voter is registered and if the voter’s registration record is active and current. Since the voter’s eligibility to vote could be verified, the voter simply signs a certificate and the voted ballot is placed directly into the ballot box.
AFN and the ANCSA Regional Association would like to thank the villages and tribal governments who have agreed to take on absentee in-person voting duties.