Deadline approaches in Anchorage's second vote-by-mail election

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - In year-two of the vote by mail election process, workers are using experience from 2018 to streamline this year's ballot collection and counting.

Dennis Wheeler, a project manager from Resource Data, has been working with the Municipality of Anchorage for around three years to make the transition from a traditional election model.

Wheeler tells KTUU that this year, the reduced staff size is a sign that the process is working more efficiently, and translating to a lower cost per vote for tax payers.

"We've realized the systems are reliable and consistent. As we trained up and got more experience to grow more efficient in what we do, we've changed procedure to make the process easier and move along more smoothly." He said. "We're making great strides in providing a much more efficient election process."

There are still a few hick-ups to be worked out between voters and an all new system. Last year, KTUU reported that
570 ballots were submitted improperly, resulting in "cure letters." Those letters indicate the problem with each ballot's validity and give the voter a deadline to make corrective action and resubmit their ballot.

Some of the issues pertaining to these "invalid" ballots include:
- failure to sign the return envelope
- signatures not matching the state voter database
- the voter's signature isn't on record with the state
- the ballot was cast by people who are not registered to vote in Anchorage
-the ballot was cast by someone who did not register in time for the April 2nd election

Last year, muni officials noted that these ballots (570) represented less that 1% of the overall voter turnout. As of 4 p.m. on Monday, 400 of this years ballots had been set aside for "cure letter" designation.

For those still looking to vote on the final day of the election, envelopes must be postmarked Tuesday, April 2nd and arrive at election headquarters by noon on April 12th.

There's also an 8 p.m., April 2nd deadline to drop your ballot at one of sixteen drop boxes across the municipality.

Those locations are listed below:

- Anchorage School District Education Center – 5530 E. Northern Lights Blvd
- Bartlett High School – 1101 Golden Bear Drive
- Begich Middle School – 7440 Creekside Center Drive
- City Hall – 632 West 6th Ave
- Clark Middle School – 150 Bragaw St
- Dimond High School – 2909 West 88th Ave
- Eagle River Town Center – 12001 Business Blvd
- Election Center – 619 East Ship Creek Ave
- Fairview Community Recreation Center – 1121 East 10th Ave
- Girdwood Community Center – 250 Egloff Drive
- Loussac Library – 3600 Denali St
- Service High School – 5577 Abbott Rd
- South Anchorage High School – 13400 Elmore Rd
- Spenard Community Recreation Center – 2020 West 48th Avenue
- UAA Alaska Airlines Center – 3550 Providence Drive
- West Anchorage High School – 1700 Hillcrest Drive

If your ballot was lost or damaged, the municipal clerks office has also set up Accessible Voting Centers at the following locations:
-ZJ Loussac Library, Open April 2 from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
-Eagle River Town Center, Open April 2 from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
-O’Malley’s on the Green, Open April 2 from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
-Anchorage City Hall, Open April 2 from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
-MOA Election Center, Open April 2 from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
-Muldoon Mall, Open April 2 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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