Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire 
Peter Sidmore fills out paperwork prior to voting early and in-person in the 2020 general election on Oct. 22. Election officials said the fourth day of early voting was slower than the three days when hundreds of voters showed up to vote in person. On this day, fewer than a dozen people had voted as of 8:45 a.m.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire Peter Sidmore fills out paperwork prior to voting early and in-person in the 2020 general election on Oct. 22. Election officials said the fourth day of early voting was slower than the three days when hundreds of voters showed up to vote in person. On this day, fewer than a dozen people had voted as of 8:45 a.m.

Set expectations for a very different Election Day

Polls will be open, but voters can expect a lot of changes

This story has been updated to include polling places that are not City and Borough of Juneau facilities.

This year’s election is going to be drastically different from past years, and the Alaska Division of Elections is making a strong push to manage voter expectations leading up to and after Election Day.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the large number of mail-in ballots already delivered to the state, DOE wants the public to be aware results may change after Election Day as the vote-counting process is expected to take longer than normal.

Results may change

“Unofficial results will not be called until well after Election Day, due to the high volume of absentee ballots,” said Tiffany Montemayor, public relations manager for DOE, which is overseen by the Lt. Governor’s office. “There is a very high chance that results will begin to change once we start counting absentee ballots seven days after Election Day. It is estimated that it will take weeks in many states. Our target date for Election Certification is Nov. 25, and we will work night and day every day if needed so that we can make that happen.”

Early voting ballots cast through Oct. 29 will be counted on Election Night, according to DOE. All remaining early voting ballots that were cast on or after Oct. 30, will be counted post-Election Day on a schedule determined by the division director based upon the completion of voter history from those who voted at the polls on Nov. 3, according to a DOE information packet.

Absentee ballots will be counted on a similar schedule, one determined by a division director based on voter history from those who voted at the polls on Election Day. Information will be provided as soon as it is practicable on the division’s website, DOE said.

“Managing the public’s expectations of results is a top priority for the Division of Elections,” Montemayor said in an email. “There are TV ads and many social media posts and engagements that remind voters (results may change). We include it in every media inquiry or interview we do. We asked media to do the same.”

Rely only on trusted sources for information on results

DOE is also issuing statements urging Alaskans to rely only on authoritative sources such as the division itself or trusted news agencies for results. DOE’s media guidance for the 2020 General Elections uses the hashtag #trustedinfo2020, a campaign launched by the National Association of Secretaries of State that gives guidance from the National Task Force on Election Crises, a recently formed election watchdog group of lawyers, academics and advocacy groups.

“#TrustedInfo2020 aims to highlight state and local election officials as the credible, verified sources for election information,” NASS’ website says.

Misinformation, disinformation is at an all-time high, DOE in its media packet “and anxiety is not far behind.” State law allows for ballots to be received up to 15 days after Election Day and DOE asks media to “help the public understand that the lack of immediate results does not indicate wrongdoing or other problems with election integrity.”

DOE has a “close race” policy that says that every absentee and questioned ballot will receive a thorough review to determine its eligibility.

“Every eligible vote will be counted regardless of when or how it was cast. The election will not and cannot be called early or even the day after the election,” Montemayor said. “Current statistics show that around 25% of ballots cast in this election will be absentee (mail, in-person, online or fax delivery). Which means 25% of votes will not be counted until 7 days after the election. That 25% will change the results of many races — even the races where someone who is not an Elections Official, calls on Election Night.”

All election results reported by the Empire will come from DOE, and the Associated Press.

Long lines and COVID-19 protections

With health mitigation strategies in place, Alaskans should be prepared for longer lines and wait times on Election Day than in past years. Social distancing and other mitigating measures may mean fewer polling stations and fewer poll workers, which could mean longer wait times.

Poll workers will be wearing personal protective equipment and voters are asked to do the same, in addition to following any health mandates local authorities may have in place. In Juneau, residents are required to wear a mask while indoors in public settings, including polling places.

An array of “I Voted” stickers wait for early voters inside Mendenhall Mall on Thursday, Oct. 22. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

An array of “I Voted” stickers wait for early voters inside Mendenhall Mall on Thursday, Oct. 22. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

To accommodate for social distancing, some voters may be asked to wait in line outside if the polling place is to small to keep 6 feet between each person. PPE and other personal hygiene items like hand sanitizer will be available to voters at polling places, DOE says, and poll workers will disinfect polling areas and equipment following each use.

So far there have been no changes to the state’s election protocol, DOE says, but the division is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Alaska and will respond accordingly should the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor decide changes are necessary.

“Voters should only rely on information that comes from the Alaska Division of Elections and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor,” DOE says. “All updates will be posted on the DOE website, DOE official social media pages, and local media (newspapers, news, and radio).”

Juneau Polling Places

Those looking to vote in-person must bring at least one valid form of identification, DOE says. These can include: voter ID card; driver’s license; State ID card; current and valid photo ID; passport; military ID card; birth certificate; hunting or fishing license.

According to DOE, a voter may also use an original copy of one of the following documents if it contains the voter’s name and current address: current utility bill; government check; bank statement; paycheck; or other government document. If a voter does not have identification and is not personally known by an election official, the voter must vote a questioned ballot, DOE says.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, a complete list of polling places can be found at DOE’s website.

CBJ noted in a release Juneau City Hall is not a polling place for the general election, and ballots cannot be dropped off there.

In Juneau the polling places are:

• Douglas Public Library

• Juneau-Douglas High School: Kale Auxiliary Gym

• Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School Gym

• Juneau Fire Station

• Mendenhall Valley Public Library

• Thunder Mountain High School Gym

• Mendenhall River Elementary School Gym

• State of Alaska Library Archives Museum

• Auke Bay Ferry Terminal

• Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church

• University of Alaska Southeast Recreation Center

• Nugget Mall

•Tlingit and Haida Community Council Building

A voter may find out where their polling place is located by calling, 888-383-8683 or at

Contact reporter Peter Segall at Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

(Juneau E
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Harborview Elementary School was briefly evacuated Friday after a bomb threat was received at midday, according to the Juneau Police Department. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire file photo)
Harborview Elementary School briefly evacuated after bomb threat

Police say incident appears connected to other threats at Alaska schools in recent months.

Michael Carter selects chips from a large box while Kalie Purkey wheels their 1-year-old daughter, Oaklynn Carter, along the row of tables at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank’s weekly food pantry on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
‘New normal’ is long waits for SNAP benefits and long lines at food pantries

Juneau residents cite variety of reasons for being part of backlog of more than 12,000 applicants.

Constantine president Peter Mercer descends from a helicopter after a tour of drilling sites in August. Mercer said drilling work will be similar in the next two or three years, as the company starts to transition to more economic, environmental,. and engineering analysis that will result in a full plan for how to access the ore, which the company is shooting to release in 2026. (Lex Treinen / Chilkat Valley News)
Constantine Mining president lays out timeline for Palmer Project work

Project north of Haines at least five years from decisions about mine development, executive says

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A bit of a sun break as seen from the John Muir Cabin, submitted on Dec. 6. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)
Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots… Continue reading

The Southeast Alaska village of Metlakatla. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
Biden administration could wade into lawsuit over Southeast Alaska tribal fishing rights

The Biden administration could jump into a high-profile lawsuit involving a Southeast… Continue reading

The gates are locked at the Pipeline Skate Park at midday Thursday, after Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Department announced the facility will be open limited hours until further notice due to an increase in vandalism and drug paraphernalia. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
City: Pipeline Skate Park open reduced hours due to ‘sharp increase’ of vandalism, drug activity

Extra patrols by police and parks staff also planned for facility at Jackie Renninger Park.

A car drives by Mendenhall River Community School on Back Loop Road on Thursday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Woman, two children struck by vehicle while crossing road near Mendenhall River Community School

Victims in stable condition, initial investigation shows driver not at-fault, according to police.

Most Read