Alaska voter registration deadline is Sunday

Voting booths spaced 6 feet apart in an open gym. People are voting inside them with their legs visible
Voters make their choices during Alaska’s primary election on Aug. 18, 2020 at Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé. The booths were kept more than six feet apart as a COVID-19-related safety measure. Sunday is the deadline to register to vote in the general election in Alaska. (Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

Sunday, Oct. 4, is the deadline to register to vote for the general election in Alaska. There are three ways to register to vote, according to the state Division of Elections:

  • Online: Alaskans have until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds to complete an online registration. But they must have a driver’s license or a state ID issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
  • In person: The Division of Election has offices where residents can register in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome and Wasilla. Division Director Gail Fenumiai said the offices will be open on both Saturday and Sunday.
  • By mail: Registration forms can be printed out and mailed. They must be postmarked by Sunday, so for most of the state, residents must have them postmarked by the time their post offices close on Friday.

Most U.S. citizens who are 18 years old and live in the state can register from the day they arrive in Alaska. Those turning 18 this year can register to vote up to 90 days before their 18th birthday, but they must be 18 by Election Day.

There’s one major exception — Alaskans who’ve committed felonies that involve “moral turpitude” must complete their sentence, as well as any probation and parole, before they’re considered discharged and able to register and vote.

People who were previously registered in Alaska, moved out of state and moved back to Alaska must register again. And anyone who has moved should update their voter registration with their current address. This will allow them to vote in the correct legislative district elections.

Also, Alaskans who haven’t voted in four years and who haven’t contacted the Division of Elections may be removed from the active voter rolls. They will still be able to cast questioned ballots, but they should contact the division to remain active.

Alaskans must register themselves unless they’ve given power of attorney to another person, who could then register them.

It’s been easier to register since voters approved a ballot measure in 2016 that automatically registers Alaskans to vote when they apply for Permanent Fund dividends.

Some people’s voter registration remains active even after they move out of state, Fenumiai said.

“State law allows people to remain registered to vote in the state as long as they claim an intent to return, have not registered to vote in another state, or voted in another state’s election,” she said.

This is a big reason why the number of people registered to vote in Alaska is actually larger than the number of people who live in the state. 

There were 590,422 registered voters in Alaska as of Sept. 3, but the state’s entire adult population was estimated to be only 546,861 last year.

Another reason why the number of registered voters is so high is federal restrictions on how quickly voter registration can be considered inactive. The voting rolls are purged each March, with nearly 11,000 names removed this year.