This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Voices of the Peninsula: Learn how to access your ballot

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election

  • By Therese Lewandowski
  • Wednesday, June 22, 2022 11:47pm
  • Opinion

By Therese Lewandowski

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election. This was primarily due to time constraints. We now see this has been an opportunity to listen to and try to understand why some voters feel voting is inaccessible to them.

What does the Alaska state elections office currently do to make voting accessible to all its citizens? They do a lot as written in this article, but they also need to hear from voters who feel removed from being able to vote. That is a voter’s right.

Let’s start with this special election. While all voters received a mailed ballot — in case they didn’t get it, lost it in the car or busy table, the dog ate it, whatever — they also had an opportunity to go to elections.alaska.org or call the elections office 907-465-4611 to request another, or go to an absentee voting location (regional election site) two weeks prior to the official Election Day and either complete a mail-in ballot, or, in some designated areas, cast a ballot as you would normally do on Election Day. You could also take your completed mail-in ballot to those sites. These voting locations are always available two weeks prior to all official election days.

If you need assistance during any stage of the voting process, from registering to vote to casting a vote, the state elections office and election workers are available to help. The elections.alaska.org website has tons of information for assisting voters.

For all elections, voters can apply online for an absentee ballot. You must have a valid Alaska driver’s license or State ID for this option. You can register to vote online as well but it must be 30 days prior to an election.

If you cannot come in to a voting location to vote in person due to age, disability or illness, you can have a personal representative of your choice pick up a ballot for you either at an absentee voting location or, on Election Day, at your regular voting location.

On Election Day and at the early absentee voting locations that allow for regular ballot voting, there is a voting tablet intended for the blind, disabled and voters with reading difficulties, to use. These touch-screen voting units allow for unassisted voting through the use of a magnified, high-contrast and audio ballot. When completed a voter-verified paper ballot is printed out which the voter can verify and then cast as usual. Some voting tablets offer an audio ballot in various languages, that varies by region and is also available at elections.alaska.org; click on Language Assistance in the top bar.

You can also apply for an online absentee ballot application. You must have a valid Alaska driver’s license or state ID to use this option. For any other questions you may have on handicap accessible voting contact the Division of Elections or use the TTY telecommunications device by calling 907-465-3020.

You can be an informed voter. And remember, all votes count and all voices matter.

Therese Lewandowski is a member of Kenai Peninsula Votes, a nonpartisan voter advocacy group.

More in Opinion

Sticky notes filled out in response to the question “Why does Democracy and voting matter?” are photographed on Saturday, June 25, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alex Koplin)
6 words to define democracy

What words would you use?

File
Opinion: The latest gun regulation bill is nothing to cheer about

The legislation resembles the timid movements of a couple of 6-month old children…

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C. in this file photo. (File)
Opinion: The Alaskans with the power to defend America’s democracy

It’s well past time to publicly refute Trump’s lie

File
Opinion: Here’s what I expect of lawmakers in a post-Roe America

I urge lawmakers to codify abortion rights at the state and federal levels.

File
Opinion: Confusion over ranked choice voting persists

Voter confusion over ballot procedures will continue

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Voices of the Peninsula: A vote for Walker/Drygas is a vote for Alaskans

It’s easy to forget some of the many lost lawsuits, devastating budget cuts and general incompetence that defines Mike Dunleavy’s term as governor

This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Voices of the Peninsula: Learn how to access your ballot

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election

The Storyknife Writers Retreat in the summer of 2021 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Storyknife: Invest in women writers, read the rewards

Storyknife is committed to providing opportunities to a diversity of writers

Most Read