One of the challenges 2020, the year of the coronavirus, poses to American democracy is that three elections take place this fall. Juneau residents look forward to primaries in August, Regional Educational Attendance Area and municipal elections in October, and general elections in November. This year offers us the opportunity to clearly let the world know which leaders we intend to follow. If we stay home and hunker down on Election Day to avoid the virus, however, we could be sickened by our own choices.
Thankfully, we don’t have to leave our homes to vote safely in these elections. To vote in the October municipal elections, Juneau residents will receive a mail-in ballot, following a mailing address check-in from municipal staff. Thus, we can vote from home, easy peasy, by mail. If preferred, we can also vote in person, up to two weeks before the election.
Any registered Alaskan voter can vote by absentee ballot in the primary, REAA, and general elections. Absentee voting is voting by mail — safe in terms of the virus and in terms of election security. This year, our Division of Elections is ensuring those 65 and over are sent applications for absentee ballots.
Here are some alternatives to voting in person on Election Day:
- To vote by mail, fill out an online or hard copy application (request ballots for all 3 elections on the same form, available at elections.alaska.gov/Core/votingbymail.php.) Send the application back by email (email@example.com), fax (907-677-9943) or US Mail (Division of Elections, Absentee & Petition Office, 2525 Gambell St., Suite 105, Anchorage, AK 99503.)
- If you are can’t vote in person because of age, illness, or disability, find someone to pick up and deliver a ballot to you – and have them turn it in. Ballots are available at any absentee voting location starting 15 days before Election Day or at your polling place. (More information at elections.alaska.gov/Core/specialneedsvoting.php)
- Vote an early or absentee in-person ballot in person when the crowds are smaller. This option is available beginning 15 days before Election Day at an absentee voting location (elections.alaska.gov/Core/absenteeearlyandinpersonvoting.php)
For answers to questions about absentee or early voting, contact the Division of Elections at 907-270-2700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to the League of Women Voters, to Rep. Sara Hannan and staff, and to Di in the CBJ Clerk’s office for this information.
Fellow Alaskans, please make a plan for voting this fall. Don’t wait until the day before the election to decide you don’t feel safe going to your polling place. That will be too late. The results of these elections will have a monumental impact on our future and every single vote counts. So let’s get to it now, so we’re ready to vote in August, October and November.
• Luann McVey is a retired Alaskan teacher. She resides in Douglas.