Alaska launches online registration for by-mail absentee ballots

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer gives an update on voting in a video posted to social media on June 25, 2020.

The Alaska Division of Elections and Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer continue to push ahead with in-person voting for this fall’s elections despite concerns about COVID-19 but at least they’re making it a bit easier to apply for a by-mail absentee ballot.

Today, Meyer announced that the state has finally implemented an online registration system for voters to apply for by-mail absentee ballots through a system that works with the DMV to verify a voter’s identity. To use the new system, voters must have a valid Alaska driver’s license or a state ID card.

[Register to receive a by-mail absentee ballot here]

Previously, the state required people to print out the application, sign it and return it via mail, fax or email. That system is still in place and will be the only option for people who do not have an Alaska driver’s license or a state ID.

The state has announced plans to send out applications for by-mail absentee ballots to voters 65 and older, a move that several Democrats say should be extended to all voters. The state has defended its decision as nonpolitical and encouraged voters to apply for the by-mail absentee ballots or vote early.

“We want everyone to vote whichever method they’re most comfortable with,” Meyer said in a video posted to Twitter today.

While the previous system required voters to go through the application process for each election, the new online system also allows people to apply to receive by-mail absentee ballots for both the general and primary elections this year.

The applications must be received by the state 10 days prior to the Aug. 18 primary election and the Nov. 3 general election. That’s Aug. 8 for the primary and Oct. 24 for the general.

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