Senior Voice -

By Lawrence D. Weiss
For Senior Voice 

Vote without putting yourself at risk

 

July 1, 2020



The right to vote is preserved in Alaska for all eligible voters, even during these times of coronavirus pandemic. In other words, in order to vote, you do not have to go in person anywhere and potentially expose yourself to the coronavirus, to long lines, or to bad weather. You can vote by mail with the help of the U.S. Post Office, or you can vote via your email. You can also vote with the assistance of a human proxy referred to as a “personal representative” who is authorized to bring you a ballot and help you fill it out if you need assistance. Here are the practical details:

Request the application to vote by mail. Anyone may request a ballot by mail. You do not need to state a reason. You can apply beginning January 1 of each year – so apply now. You will need a copy of the “Alaska Absentee Ballot Application – For Federal and State Elections”. This same application enables you to vote by mail in the August primaries, the November general election, and October REAA (Regional Educational Attendance Area) elections, if you are eligible.

Here are three ways to get a copy of the Alaska Absentee Ballot Application:

1) Visit the “By-Mail Ballot Delivery” website at http://www.elections.alaska.gov/Core/votingbymail.php. Download the “PDF Fillable Form.” It is a one-page application with an additional page of instructions and information.

2) Request a copy by email. Send your request to: akabsentee@alaska.gov.

3) Request a copy by phone. Call: 907-270-2700 or 877-375-6508 (toll free in U.S.). Do it now because the deadline for the Division of Elections to receive mailed absentee by-mail applications is Saturday, August 8, 2020.

Once you fill out the one-page application, you can send it back by United States Postal Service. See the address on the instruction sheet. You will need your own stamp. Mail in your application well before the strict August 8 deadline.

Feeling your technological oats? Return your application by email. Send your application to the Absentee Office at akabsentee@alaska.gov by email as an attached PDF, TIFF or JPEG file. Do it as soon as possible, but if you are a procrastinator you get a break. The deadline to receive absentee electronic transmission ballot applications is 5 p.m. Alaska Standard Time, Monday, August 17, 2020.

Register to vote, or update information. Oops, not registered to vote? Or perhaps you are registered to vote but the information needs to be updated? No problem. The Alaska Absentee Ballot Application can also be used to register to vote or to update your current voter registration information. Follow the instructions above to get a copy of the application.

Vote online. What could be more avant-garde than voting online? Visit the Online Ballot Delivery webpage ( http://www.elections.alaska.gov/Core/votingbyonline.php ) for details. The Electronic Transmission Absentee Ballot Application will be posted to this webpage for the August Primary Election beginning at 8 a.m. on August 3, 2020, and for the November General Election beginning at 8 a.m. on October 19, 2020.

Your Personal Representative can deliver a ballot to you. Are you unable to vote in person because of age, illness or a disability? If so, you may have someone pick up and deliver a ballot to you. This person is called a “personal representative.” Your personal representative may pick up a ballot for you at any absentee voting location in your area starting 15 days before Election Day, or at your polling place. Your personal representative may assist you in any step of the voting process and can be anyone except a candidate for office in the election, your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union. For additional information about special needs voting, please contact your Regional Elections Office. See phone numbers below.

Need additional information about voting? The best single source of information for Alaskans about voting is the home page of the Alaska Division of Elections ( http://www.elections.alaska.gov/ ). Prefer calling by phone? Contact your local Regional Elections Office:

Region I, Southeast: (907) 465-3021

Region II, Anchorage: (907) 522-8683

Region II, Matanuska-Susitna Borough: (907) 373-8952

Region III, Fairbanks, Interior, Eastern Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Valdez: (907) 451-2835

Region IV, Northern, Western and Southwest Alaska, Aleutian Chain: (907) 443-5285

Vote to keep our democracy strong. Vote from home to stay healthy. Have a strong and healthy day.

Author Bio

Lawrence D. Weiss is a UAA Professor of Public Health, Emeritus, creator of the UAA Master of Public Health program, and author of several books and numerous articles.

 
 

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