Mail-in ballots: Mistakes to avoid in the 2022 Alaska Special Primary

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:06 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Election Day is on Saturday, June 11 in the primary to fill the late Don Young’s vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Out of more than 500,000 ballots mailed out across Alaska for the 2022 Special Primary Election, roughly 21% have been filled out and returned.

When filling out an absentee ballot, there are three basic requirements: the voter’s signature, the signature of a witness, and an identifier, which, according to Tiffany Montemayor, Public Relations Manager with the Division of Elections (DOE), “can be their date of birth, the last four of their social security number, their driver’s license number, or their voter ID.”

The requirement that a witness sign a voter’s ballot was cancelled for the 2020 elections by a court order due to COVID-19. However, that requirement is back for this year’s absentee ballots. “The biggest mistake that people are making right now is not having a witness signature on their ballot,” Montemayor said.

Ballots without a witness signature are not counted. Neither are ballots with more than one candidate filled in. “If you vote for more than that, it’s an overvote and we won’t be able to know who you actually intended to vote for. So, unfortunately, we can’t count it,” she explained.

Mailed ballots come with a return address and envelope, and the postage is prepaid for voters. “All they have to do is vote their ballot, put it in the secrecy sleeve, seal that in the envelope and then send it back,” Montemayor said.

Ballots being mailed in must be postmarked by Election Day, June 11.

Alaskans may also fill out in-person absentee ballots at around 170 locations around the state. “A voter’s going to go in, and they are going to fill out an envelope that’s very similar to the one that they got in the mail, with all of their information and things like that, vote their ballot, seal it in there, and then slip that into a ballot box.”

Once the voter’s eligibility is determined, the absentee in-person vote is then counted.

The process for counting both in-person and absentee ballots is expected to take two weeks from Election Day, with DOE targeting June 25 as the date to certify.

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