City sends replacement ballots to voters who updated voter information just before deadline
Voting in Anchorage is underway in the city’s first election using Vote By Mail methods. Anchorage registered voters should receive their ballots in the mail by Monday, March 19, but some residents have already received more than one ballot and are wondering what to make of it.
Barbara Jones, the Anchorage Municipal Clerk, says it’s due to the lapse between the mailing company’s deadline to send ballots, and the deadline to change voter registration. Voters who were registered before March 1 received one ballot in the mail, and if those same voters updated their voter information before the registration deadline of March 4, a second updated ballot was mailed out.
There were 194,000 ballot packages sent out, and only about 1,400 replacement ballot packets, Jones said.
The second ballot was sent from the Municipality’s election center with a highly visible insert indicating that voters should return only the second ballot. The tracking bar code of the first ballot sent to voters who then updated their information has been invalidated.
“The replacement ballot notice tells the voter that the original ballot package was voided,” Jones said Friday. “The voter might not be eligible to vote that ballot depending on where they live now,” she continued.
Even if a person returns both ballots with a vote, the system will kick out the first ballot that was recorded as invalid.
Other reasons a ballot may be kicked out of the system, a missing signature on the outside of the ballot, the signature doesn’t match the signature on file with the state, or two ballots are put into one voter envelope. Jones says the voter would be notified in those instances, and given a chance to correct the problem before the election canvass on April 12.
For voters with concerns about identity security with their signature being on the outside of the ballot envelope, Jones says dropping ballots into secure ballot boxes or at an accessible voting center will ensure that only election workers will handle the ballots.
“We've encouraged them to use the secure drop boxes or the accessible vote centers to drop off their ballot so that they know that no one is looking at their signature except election workers,” Jones said, “which is the same as every election, the election workers need their signature on the voter register to confirm their identity.”