Voter Engagement- Anchorage 2018
The Alaska Center and The Alaska Center Education Fund are committed to working with Alaskan communities with the goal of Alaska’s electorate growing into the most engaged in the nation. Through innovative reforms, such as Automatic Voter Registration, and the transition to Vote-By-Mail, we believe that if the State of Alaska can reduce barriers to accessing the democratic process, more Alaskans can have their voices heard. Together, we can achieve more equitable outcomes for all.
Automatic voter registration:
Alaskan voters approved a plan in November 2016 to automatically register PFD applicants to vote. The Alaska Center has been working with coalition partners to ensure the successful implementation of the law. The first batch of approximately 15,000 voters was registered in late 2017, some of whom voted for the first time in the Anchorage Municipal Election. In 2018, the Division will register nearly 40,000 more new voters and update addresses for nearly 100,000 more.
As we head into the general election this fall, nearly all eligible voters will be on the voter rolls for the first time in state history. Along with out partners, we have plans to carry out non-partisan outreach to contact these voters throughout the summer and into the fall.
Anchorage Municipality Votes by Mail
In late 2017, The Alaska Center sat down with a diverse set of community organizations to prepare for the first-ever Vote-By-Mail election in the Anchorage Municipality. We dedicated a portion of our program to raising general awareness, in addition to specific targeting of low-propensity voters. Our engaging and positive advertisements saturated the community: People Mover bus signs, youth-focused radio spots, and digital video.
Our robust, nonpartisan voter engagement program enabled us to reach voters throughout the Municipality, and we focused our volunteer door canvass efforts on Fairview, Mountainview, Russian Jack, and Spenard — each of which historically have had some of the lowest turnout rates in Municipal elections. By concentrating our efforts on groups of voters who historically have been left out of the civic process, we reached 20,000 mail boxes wand over 2,500 voters on the doors. On Election Day, we piloted a “Ride To Decide” program, which offered free rides to the polls for those who required assistance.
As it turns out, the switch to Vote-By-Mail was the perfect opportunity to have conversations with voters city-wide about the importance of local elections. 2018’s election saw record-breaking turn-out with over 79,000 ballots cast.
In 2018, we have bold plans to continue building on this momentum. The Alaska Center is committed to broad, non-partisan voter engagement in order to reach every registered voter. We recognize that barriers of access, mobility, and lack of awareness are real hurdles that prevent Alaskans from turning their ballots in, and we will work to make sure that every Alaskan has the chance to have their voice heard.
We've got a Big year ahead
Help support our work to build the most engaged electorate in the nation. Donate today, volunteer your time, or join us at our auction May 11.
We are in this together.