Anchorage Election Q&A: Here’s what’s on the ballot and options for voting

Large white boxes that read "Vote by Mail Ballot Drop Box" sit in a warehouse.
Ballot drop boxes wait to be deployed in the Municipality of Anchorage Election Center on Jan. 14, 2021. (Photo by Kavitha George/AKPM)

Anchorage is less than a month away from its next municipal election and ballots are arriving in mailboxes. Residents will decide who the next mayor and school board members will be, plus vote on several smaller seats and propositions. Here are answers to common questions about this spring’s ballot. If you have other questions, send us an email at news@alaskapublic.org.

Q: Who or what is on the ballot?

All voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on mayor and school board. There are 15 candidates running for mayor and four school board seats up for a vote. Check out our Running 2021 guide for more information about candidates in both races.

There are also 11 propositions, a recall petition targeting Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera, and a number of service area board seats. Service area boards oversee roads and maintenance for some neighborhoods outside the municipality’s road service area. Service area board seats will only appear on your ballot if you live in a neighborhood with a board seat up for election. Likewise, the petition to recall Rivera will only appear on his Midtown constituents’ ballots.

Q: What are the propositions?

There are 11 propositions on the ballot, including eight bonds. They total about $60 million and would be used to pay for things like capital improvements, parks and roads, and safety and transit improvements. You can find fact sheets on each of the propositions, as well as answers to more questions about them, on the municipality website. Here’s an overview.

Bond propositions:

  • Proposition 1 (areawide): Facilities upgrades including safety and code upgrades for municipal buildings, a pool filtration system, public restrooms, and installation of solar panels on 14 municipal buildings. $6.905 million.
  • Proposition 2 (areawide): Facilities upgrades for the Chugiak and Eagle River senior centers, and the Loussac Library. $1.15 million.
  • Proposition 3 (areawide): Public safety and transit improvements, including new ambulances and a rescue vehicle, new transit vehicles, bus stop improvements and school zone safety improvements. $5.3 million.
  • Proposition 4 (areawide): Anchorage Police Department technology upgrades, including body-worn and in-car cameras and new record and evidence management systems. $1.84 million.
  • Proposition 5 (Anchorage Roads and Drainage Service Area): Road and storm drainage improvement, including road resurfacing, lighting and traffic signal updates, and pedestrian safety upgrades. $36.425 million.
  • Proposition 6 (Anchorage Parks and Recreation Service Area): Parks and trails improvements including new trails, trail restoration and signage, athletic field safety improvements, inclusive playgrounds and maintenance. $3.95 million.
  • Proposition 7 (Anchorage Fire Service Area): Anchorage Fire Department upgrades, including a new fire ladder truck and AFD facility upgrades. $1.95 million.
  • Proposition 8 (Anchorage Metropolitan Police Service Area): Anchorage Police Department upgrades, including outfitting up to 60 new fleet vehicles. $3.9 million.

Other propositions:

  • Proposition 9: Amending the boundaries of the Bear Valley Limited Road Service Area to include land from the Blue Beary Estates Subdivision.
  • Proposition 10: Amending the boundaries of the Upper O’Malley Limited Road Service Area to exclude land from the Alpine Terrace Subdivision.
  • Proposition 11: Amending the boundaries of the South Goldenview Rural Road Service Area to exclude land from the Creekview Estates Subdivision.

Q: How do bond propositions work? Will I get to vote on all of them?

Yes. All Anchorage voters get to approve or reject bond propositions. 

Bonds can be split into areawide and service area bonds. Everyone votes on areawide bonds, and shares services and costs if they pass. For service area bonds, everyone still has a say in voting on them, but services are limited to specific neighborhoods of the municipality who shoulder the costs. 

For instance, Proposition 4 is a $1.8 million bond to provide new technology, including body cameras, for the Anchorage Police Department. If it passes, everybody in the municipality will pay for that bond. 

But Proposition 5 is for road upgrades only within the Anchorage Bowl road service area. So even though everyone in the municipality will get a chance to vote on it, Chugiak, Eagle River, Girdwood, and most of the Hillside wouldn’t get those road upgrades — so they also wouldn’t pay for the bond.

Q: When will I get my ballot?

Ballots were mailed on March 15. The municipal clerk said they should all be received by Monday, March 22.

Q: What do I do with my ballot?

First, make sure you sign the ballot declaration on the return envelope. That’s essential to make sure your ballot is counted.

Then you have a few options to return it:

Q: What happens if I lost or damaged my ballot, or didn’t receive one?

Call the voter hotline for assistance: (907) 243-8683.

You can also vote in person at one of the three Vote Centers starting March 29, at City Hall, the Loussac Library, and the Eagle River Town Center. Note the Eagle River Town Center will only have Eagle River-Chugiak ballots, but the other two locations will supply all municipal ballots. Hours and locations are available here.

Q: What’s the deadline to vote?

All mailed ballots need to be postmarked by April 6 (Election Day), but the municipality will accept ballots until April 16 for local voters, or April 20 for overseas voters. 

Drop boxes at Vote Centers close at 8 p.m. on Election Day but f you are in line to drop off your ballot before 8 p.m. you will be allowed to submit it. 

Q: When will we know the results of the election?

Unofficial results will be posted around 8:30 p.m. on Election Day, April 6. Those results will likely change as more ballots are received after Election Day. The Anchorage Assembly is scheduled to certify results at a meeting on April 20.

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