How to Vote in Alaska's 2024 Elections

Posted on 04/15/24 by Grace Dickinson

En español

Important dates and election information

Key dates

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  • State primary: Tuesday, Aug. 20
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting in Alaska

What to know about recent changes

Recently enacted laws may change how you vote in the 2024 elections:

  • Alaska implemented a new voting system in 2022, featuring a nonpartisan top-four state primary election and a ranked-choice voting general election. 
  • An interim redistricting plan in 2022 changed some boundaries of state legislative districts. Last year the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted the 2022 plan as the final plan, which will remain in effect until the next census.

How Alaska’s ranked-choice voting works

In addition to its party-run primaries, Alaska uses a nonpartisan primary system for its state primary election and a ranked-choice voting system for the general election. Learn more about how those work below.

State primary elections: Alaska uses a nonpartisan top-four primary system to determine the candidates who will advance to the general election. All candidates for each office are placed on a single ballot, and all registered voters get this ballot, regardless of political affiliation. You will select one candidate per race. The four candidates in each race who receive the most votes advance to the general election.

General elections: Alaska uses a ranked-choice voting system for the general election. You’ll be given a ballot that allows you to rank candidates in order of preference. (You may rank as many or as few candidates as you’d like. If you don’t want to rank a candidate, leave their row blank.) In the first round of vote counting, only voters’ first preferences are tallied. For a candidate to win, the candidate must receive a majority — 50 percent plus one vote — of all first-choice votes cast. If no candidate gets a majority, a second round of tallying is conducted. In the second round, the last-place candidate from round one is eliminated, and this candidate’s votes are reallocated to their supporters’ second preference. This process continues until one candidate reaches over 50 percent of the votes or until there are two candidates remaining and the candidate with the most votes wins.

Read more about ranked-choice voting on the Division of Elections website.

How to register to vote

Note: You are automatically registered to vote when you apply for a Permanent Fund Dividend, unless you opt out. Check if you’re registered to vote through the state’s voter information portal. You must register to vote 30 days before state and general primary elections.

Register online, by email or mail, or in person:

  • Online: Use the state’s online voter registration system to register or update your registration. You’ll need a current Alaska driver’s license or Alaska ID card, and the information must match your Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record. If you don’t have a valid ID or your information can’t be validated, you may register using a paper registration form.

If registering to vote for the first time by email, mail, fax or in person, you must provide a current Alaska driver’s license, Alaska ID card, U.S. passport, military ID card, hunting or fishing license, birth certificate or another valid photo ID. You also need to provide your driver’s license number, Alaska ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Americans Head To The Polls To Vote In The 2022 Midterm Elections
Alaskans vote at a polling station in Anchorage, Alaska.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

How to request an absentee ballot

Applications open January 1st of every year. By-mail absentee ballot applications must be received no later than 10 days before an election.

When applying in person or by mail, fax or email, you’ll need to provide a numerical identifier: either your Alaska driver’s license number, Alaska ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

  • By mail: Download and complete the absentee ballot application, then send it to the Absentee and Petition Office. You also can ask the Absentee and Petition Office to mail you the application. Call 907-270-2700 or 877-375-6508 (toll-free within the U.S.) or email akabsentee@alaska.gov. 

  • By fax: Download and complete the absentee ballot application, then fax it to the Absentee and Petition Office at 907-677-9943 or 855-677-9943 (toll-free within the U.S.).  

Ballots start being mailed to voters approximately 25 days before Election Day. Advanced ballots for active military members, those living overseas and some others are mailed approximately 45 days before Election Day.

You also can apply for an absentee ballot to be faxed or electronically delivered to you, but you must use a different application form that becomes available 15 days before Election Day. Completed applications for faxed or electronically delivered absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. the day before an election.

If you request a by-fax absentee ballot, your ballot will be faxed to you 24 to 48 hours after receipt of your application with instructions on how to complete it.

If you request an electronically delivered ballot, you’ll need an email address and access to a computer and a printer. You’ll be emailed a link to your digital ballot 24 to 48 hours after receipt of your application. Note that your digital ballot cannot be submitted electronically; it must be printed and returned in a hard-copy form.

Returning an absentee ballot

Absentee ballots can be returned by mail, in person or by fax.

  • By mail: Use the return address provided with your ballot, and ensure it’s postmarked on or before Election Day.
  • By fax: Ballots can be returned by fax only if you requested a by-fax or electronically delivered absentee ballot. Fax your completed ballot to the number provided with your ballot before 8 p.m. on Election Day. Election officials note that when you return a ballot by fax you are voluntarily waiving your right to a secret ballot and are assuming the risk that a faulty transmission may occur. 

Completed absentee ballots must include a witness signature and be accompanied by at least one voter identifier: either your voter registration number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, date of birth, Alaska driver’s license number or Alaska ID card number.

Voting in person before Election Day

All registered voters can choose to vote early in Alaska. Absentee in-person and early voting locations open for voting 15 days prior to Election Day. Find locations in your area by checking the Division of Elections website. Opening hours vary by location. The same identification rules for voting on Election Day apply to voting absentee in-person or voting early. You must sign an affidavit swearing you won’t vote in any other manner.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Use the Division of Election office’s online tool to find your polling place. Bring an acceptable form of photo ID, such as your voter ID card, driver’s license, state ID, military ID, passport, hunting or fishing license, or another valid photo ID. If you don’t have one of these IDs, you may present a current utility bill, paycheck, government check, bank statement or another government-issued document. If an election official knows the identity of the voter, the official can waive the ID, unless it’s a first-time voter. If you don’t have identification, your name is not on the precinct register, your residence address has changed, you already voted according to the precinct register, or an observer challenges your qualifications to vote, you will be asked to fill out a questioned ballot. Questioned ballots go to the state’s Questioned Review Board, which will determine whether your ballot can be counted.

Voting with a disability

Each polling place is equipped with magnifying viewers for the visually impaired and voting tablets with magnified text and audio ballot options. Find more information at the secretary of state’s website. 

Voters who need assistance filling in their ballot can receive help from an election official or person of their choice, as long as that person is not a candidate, an employer, an agent of the voter’s employer or a union official.

You can also request to have a personal representative pick up and deliver a ballot to you if you can’t vote in person due to age, illness or disability.

Representatives can pick up a ballot at any absentee voting location starting 15 days before Election Day or at your polling place. For more information, contact your Division of Elections office.

More information about candidates and key races

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. House: one seat
  • State House: 40 seats 
  • State Senate: 10 seats

Sample ballots for the state’s primary and general elections will be available at the secretary of state’s website.

Grace Dickinson is a contributing writer who covers federal and state policy. She previously wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her work has also appeared on sites like HuffPost and Eater.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Apr. 15, 2024, with new information about voting in the 2024 elections.

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