Anchorage election turnout expected to be at same level as previous years


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Anchorage Assembly members, Anchorage School Board members and board supervisors are on all the ballots for Tuesday’s municipal elections. So does a list of bonds that involve funding capital improvement projects — some are for the school district and firefighters.

Local elections are generally considered the most important for voters, as those elected to these positions control taxes, the municipal budget and the quality of education children receive. However, sometimes these elections are also known to have a low turnout.

Acting Deputy Election Clerk Jamie Heinz said she “loves elections” and loves seeing people take the opportunity to vote and have “a say” in who they are elected to be.

Election day is Tuesday and 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, Loussac Library, and Downtown Eagle River.

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

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

“We encourage voters to ask the postman to please cancel by hand or put the postmark date directly on this stamp so that we can verify that it was received before or on Election Day,” said Heinz.

With five Assembly seats on the ballot this year, Heinz expects 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 close to 32%, so we expect 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 an absentee ballot.

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

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

“I really believe it’s a right that we have, and we should enjoy the vote. I feel like we can’t really complain if we don’t come out and vote,” Ingraham said.

Heinz added that the city will have about 15 new election workers this year. some people didn’t come back because of covid, or changed jobs. However, she expects things to be business as usual tomorrow.

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