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Here’s what to do if you receive a ballot but no longer vote in Anchorage elections

Former Anchorage residents say they have received municipal election ballots
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 10:34 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Some former Anchorage residents say they were surprised to receive ballots in the mail for Anchorage’s upcoming Municipal Election.

At the same time, the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s office said more than 220,000 ballots were sent out, and it’s not unusual for a mailing address to be out of state while a residential address remains in Alaska.

Ian Martinez, a mechanic who returned to his home state of Colorado more than two years ago, told Alaska’s News Source it’s happened more than once.

“I’ve actually been living in Colorado for two and a half years,” Martinez said, “and I’ve been receiving them the last two years.”

Sara Hayward moved away six months ago and said she and her husband each received ballots at their new address in Indiana.

Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones said there are many reasons a resident may need a ballot mailed elsewhere, as with college students, snowbirds, military members or individuals who live in Anchorage but work out of state. In all of these situations, Jones said, the individuals are legally entitled to cast a vote, and the city is required to ensure all qualified voters receive a ballot.

The list Anchorage uses to identify voters comes from the state election registry, Jones said, emphasizing that it is up to voters to contact the state and cancel their registration.

Martinez said he feels like that’s too much for the municipality to ask.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous that I have to jump through hoops, just so they can get their ballot mail-outs handled,” he said.

When asked if there is a protocol in place to more closely inspect ballots that have different residential and mailing addresses, Jones said there isn’t, but that election staff is vigilant for ballots that may need a second look. These would include ballots that may have signatures that don’t match or any that arrive in envelopes intended for different elections.

Jones also said it’s a crime to intentionally return a ballot for an election in which an individual knows they should not be voting.

Martinez, who said he does not think there’s an intentional effort to disrupt election results, would like to see the process become more streamlined.

“I just hope that they’re able to address this before there is a reason to raise concern about it,” he said. “Before something arises that could potentially affect the democratic process.”

Martinez and other former Anchorage residents also said they destroyed their ballots and did not return them.

“We need voters to help us protect the integrity of our election. We need voters to participate by volunteering, by educating others and by canceling their voter registration if they no longer live in the state,” Jones said.

Jones added that she has confidence in election results, because election staff takes election fraud and election integrity seriously, and campaigns and advocates for ballot measures are able to observe the process – as is the public through the election’s division’s YouTube stream.

To cancel your voter registration in Alaska, Jones said individuals should call the state division of elections at (907) 522-8683 or send an email to elections@alaska.gov.

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