Update: The original version of this post used numbers from the Friday release of the absentee ballots. This post has since been updated with numbers from the Monday, Aug. 17 release of information.
Despite having nearly double the number of registered party members, the Alaska Republican Party trails the Alaska Democratic Party (as well as independents, but they’re the largest overall political group) in requesting by-mail ballots for the state’s primary and general elections.
According to numbers provided by the Alaska Division of Elections on Monday, 15,283 Republican voters have requested absentee ballots for Tuesday’s primary election while 17,002 Democrats and 28,194 independent voters (nonpartisan and undeclared) have requested absentee ballots. Most absentee ballot requests are by mail, but this also includes other formats like online and fax voting that are far more limited.
Alaska allows voters to request by-mail ballots for any reason up to 10 days ahead of an election. The deadline to request by-mail absentee ballots for the primary election has already passed. Early in-person ballots can still be cast today and regular in-person will be held on Tuesday.
The application for the general election is due Oct. 24 and can be completed online.
Republicans from President Donald Trump on down have been busy casting doubt on the safety and viability of by-mail voting but it looks like the only group that message appears to be resonating with is Republicans.
As a percentage of overall voter registration, Democrats lead Alaska’s major political groups with 22.36% voting absentee while just 11.17% of Republicans voting absentee.
|Primary Election Absentee Voting (As of Aug. 17, 2020)||As of 8/3/20|
|Party||Absentee||Mail, etc||In-Person||% of Party||Total voters|
The one category Republicans are leading Democrats is in early in-person voting. As of Monday, they’ve cast 359 ballots this way while Democrats have cast 198 absentee ballots in person.
Democrats have comparatively little at stake in Tuesday’s primary election with just six contested legislative primaries to be decided and two congressional races that have clear frontrunners.
Republicans, meanwhile, face an incredibly tense primary season with several incumbent legislators from both the moderate and far-right wings of the party facing serious challenges from party loyalists. Republicans hold their primary on a closed ballot that’s only open to Republicans and independent voters.
When looking at absentee voting by House district, Republicans trail independent voters in every race and sometimes by a lot. Here’s a breakdown of absentee voting by House district:
|House District||Republicans||Independents (Undeclared and Nonpartisan)|
Turning to the general election, Republicans are also trailing behind.
There are 17,299 Democrats (22.5%) who’ve registered to vote remotely in the Nov. 3 general election, 30,077 independent voters (8% total) and just 12,410 Republicans (11.5%).
|Party/Group||Absentee applications||% of Party||Total Voters as of 8/3|