Anchorage election turnout expected to be on par with previous years

Anchorage election turnout expected to be on par with previous years
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Assembly members, Anchorage School Board members and board supervisors are on all the ballot for Tuesday’s municipal election. So is a list of bonds involving funding for capital improvement projects — some are for the school district and fire department.

Local elections are generally seen as the most important for voters, as the people elected to these positions control taxes, the municipal budget, and the quality education children receive. However, sometimes these elections are also known for having low voter turnout.

Acting Deputy Clerk of Elections Jamie Heinz said she “loves elections” and loves seeing people take advantage of the opportunity to vote and have a “say” on their elected officials.

Election Day is Tuesday, and the polls open tomorrow at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. There are three in-person voting centers throughout the municipality: Anchorage City Hall, the Loussac Library, and the Eagle River Town Center.

“Nothing has changed this year. Just bring your ID if you’re going to come to a vote center, so that they can process you through the system,” Heinz said.

There are also 18 ballot drop boxes throughout the municipality. Heinz adds that this year, more than 210,000 ballots were mailed out to registered voters. As of Friday, more than 34,000 had been received. For people who are planning to mail their ballot on Monday or on Election Day, she has some advice.

“We encourage voters to ask the postal worker to please hand cancel or put the post mark date right on that stamp so we can verify it was received prior to or on Election Day,” Heinz said.

With five assembly seats on the ballot this year, Heinz is expecting the voter turnout this year to be on par with recent elections.

“In 2019 we were at about 28% voter turnout,” she said. “(In) 2020 we were almost 31%. Last year we were almost 32%, so we’re expecting to be in that range.”

Anchorage election worker Karen Ingraham said she started working at the election center in 2018, the first year the municipality held a vote-by-mail election.

“I thought it was a great convenience for people, especially the older people, disabled, who may not be able to drive a car or something,” Ingraham said. “And I was just intrigued by it with the tour and that’s when I volunteered.”

With all the opportunities people have to vote in Anchorage, she hopes more people make their voices heard.

“I really believe that it’s a right we have, and we should take advantage of voting. I feel like we can’t really complain if we don’t get out and vote,” Ingraham said.

Heinz added the city will have about 15 new election workers this year. some people did not return due to covid, or they switched jobs. However, she expects things to be business as normal tomorrow.

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