Voter turnout for Alaskan Interior primaries is high despite COVID-19
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska state Primary Elections have come and gone yet again, but this year presented particular challenges for both the Division of Elections and for voters. Safety measures were taken at voting locations including providing voters gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of the virus. Today we spoke with Fairbanks Regional Supervisor Jeremy Johnson with the Division of Elections to find out this year’s voter turnout statistics and to see how they compare to that of the previous two primary election cycles.
“In person at the polling place voter turnout was higher than it was last year and higher than 2016. In 2016 we had 88,000 ballots cast at the precinct. 115,000 ballots cast in 2018, and this year for the primary we had 133,000 ballots cast. So even with COVID-19 more people turned out to vote in person then they had in the last two primary elections”, said Johnson.
But casting ballots in person is not the only option available to Alaskan voters and 2020 saw a significant increase in absentee votes.
“So this year with COVID we had a tremendous outpouring of by mail applications. In 2016 we received 5,500 ballots cast, in 2018 we had 6,900 ballots cast, and then this year we had 40,500”, said Johnson.
Jeremy spoke about the importance of these numbers, “we live in a representative democracy so getting your vote for the person you think best represents you and how you want to shape the future is important, in my opinion.”
The statistics show that Alaskans aren’t letting the pandemic stop them from making their voices heard and getting their ballots cast this year.
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