Turnout holding steady so far in Anchorage’s 2021 election

Large white boxes that read "Vote by Mail Ballot Drop Box" sit in a warehouse.
Ballot drop boxes wait to be deployed in the Municipality of Anchorage Election Center on Jan. 14, 2021. (Kavitha George/Alaska Public Media)

Tuesday is Election Day in Anchorage: Residents will be voting for the next mayor, a number of school board seats and several ballot propositions. According to the municipal clerk, 27,445 ballots have been returned as of March 31 out of nearly 230,000 that went out earlier in the month. 

That’s slightly lower than 2020 and 2018 returns so far, but higher than 2019. Over the last five years, turnout has hovered between 23% and 36% of registered voters. 

Deputy clerk Erika McConnell said ballots are already being processed — election workers are verifying signatures and opening ballot envelopes. Votes won’t be counted until after 8 p.m. on election night. 

If residents have any questions about their ballots or need a replacement ballot, the clerk urges them to call the city’s voter hotline at 907-243-VOTE.

“If they are elderly, have a disability or if they are sick or have a positive COVID test, call us and we can have a special needs ballot delivered to them,” she said. “We want to find ways to help everyone who is qualified to vote cast a ballot if they wish to. So any questions, please call us.”

The deadline to return a ballot to a dropbox or a Vote Center is 8 p.m. Tuesday. If you are in line to vote at 8 p.m. you can still cast your ballot.

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media’s climate change reporter. Reach her at kgeorge@alaskapublic.org.

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