Voting is made easier for Alaskans during a difficult time

The 2020 elections are coming up, with the general election on Nov. 3, 2020. Many are prepared to vote, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a quick rundown of how to vote and how voting has been made easier in Alaska due to the current pandemic.

Graphic by Michaeline Collins.

There are specific requirements for voting in each state. In Alaska, a voter must be a U.S. citizen, Alaska resident, at least 18 years of age or within 90 days of an 18th birthday, not be a convicted felon and not be registered to vote in other states. More details are available on the Alaska Division of Elections website.

Those who wish to cast a ballot must first register to vote. Registration can be completed online on the Alaska Online Voter Registration website. To register online for the first time, a valid Alaska driver’s license or state ID is required. To check if you are already registered to vote, visit the State of Alaska Voter Registration Information website. You can check voter registration status, absentee ballot status and polling places to vote in person as well.

Once voter registration is complete, people can vote at polling places but are also able to vote by mail more easily, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some States have made it easier for voters to mail-in absentee ballots for those who do not want to come in person at polling places. In Alaska, anyone can vote by mail and there is no specific reason needed to do so. Thorough information about voting by mail can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections By-Mail Ballot Delivery website.

Voters can apply online for an absentee ballot with the State of Alaska Division of Elections Online Absentee Ballot Application. A valid Alaska driver’s license or state ID is required for this option. Mail-in applications are also available on the same website by using the paper application. Voters can print it out and mail it in when the application is complete.

Voters who are active military, spouses and dependents and U.S. citizens temporarily or permanently living overseas, or those living, working or traveling in remote Alaska or who may be traveling overseas and are also considered residents of the State of Alaska can use an absentee ballot as well. These voters will be mailed a ballot 45 days before each primary and Election Day.

Ballots are also available to be sent by online delivery and printed at home as Online Ballot Delivery. Voters can apply for an online delivery ballot for the August 18, 2020, Primary Election and the Nov. 3, 2020, General Election beginning 15 days before each election. A computer, valid email address and a printer are required for this option. After voters have printed out completed ballots, they can be sent in the mail or fax it to the state. Voters who choose this option will be emailed instructions on how to complete their ballots.

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Early in-person voting is also available 15 days before each election day at designated polling locations. Information about voting locations will be made available one month before each Election Day and can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections Early and In-Person Absentee Voting Locations website. This can be an option for those who wish to vote in person but would like to avoid the crowds on Election Days.

Voting is also available to those with special needs who cannot vote in person because of age, disability or illness. They can have a representative pick up a ballot for them at any absentee ballot location 15 days before each Election Day and have that representative drop off the ballot at any voting location. More information is available on the Alaska Division of Elections Special Needs Voting website.

The candidates for the Presidential Election in November are Donald Trump (Republican), running for reelection and Joe Biden (Democrat). Biden has not announced a running mate yet and Trump’s vice president will remain Mike Pence.