ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Applications for the 2018 Permanent Fund Dividend will open on Jan. 1. And while the application process will be almost identical to previous years, there is one change that Alaskans might notice.
After Ballot Measure 1 passed last November, 2018 will be the first year all eligible Alaskans will be automatically registered to vote when they apply for their PFD.
The initiative was first proposed as a way to substantially increase voter registration in the state. According to the Alaska Permanent Fund Division, around 672,000 Alaskans applied for PFDs last year. That’s about 150,000 more than the number of registered voters as of Dec. 3, according to the most recent data from the Division of Elections.
"When you go to sign the certification statement for your application, there’s an additional bullet there that says, 'I understand that if I am a United States Citizen, and I’m otherwise eligible to vote, that I will be automatically registered,'" said Sara Race, Director of the PFD Division.
According to information on the state’s website, all PFD applicants eligible to vote will receive a mailer from the Division of Elections asking them if they want to register. You have 30 days after receiving that mailer to opt out, if you desire. If you’re already registered to vote, your PFD application may be used to update your voter registration information.
Click HERE for more information on how automatic voter registration will work.
PFD applicants who are not eligible to vote – such as non-citizens or convicted felons – will not be registered, according to the Division of Elections.
While the PFD application is essentially the same this year, Race says there are a few things you can do to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. The PFD Division recommends filing your application online.
"Really look over the answers," Race said. "Look over your personal information. Make sure there isn’t any typos, and make sure you’re providing all the information that’s being requested."
Furthermore, it’s important to make sure you receive a confirmation email, after submitting your online application. You should also regularly check the status of your application online, and sign up for direct deposit to eliminate the risk of mail theft and check fraud.
PFD applications will be open from Jan. 1 to March 31.