Come next election, Alaskans may be able to register to vote as late as Election Day under bills introduced in the Senate and House that call for elimination of the current 30-day pre-election voter cutoff. Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, ran for lieutenant governor last year and discussed voting issues and problems with people all over the state, she said. “The biggest issue people had was access to voting and making it easier,” she said. “We have really low rates in our state.” McGuire’s bill, Senate Bill 93, and a companion bill, House Bill 95, would allow Alaskans to register and vote on the same day. Now, they must have been registered a month before an election to cast a ballot.
“Same-day voting is important to people who move into the state, and residents who move (within the state) and miss that 30-day deadline and still want their voice to count,” McGuire said.
Author of the House bill, Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, said allowing same-day registration would also be good for first-time voters. “Oftentimes we have voters who never voted before but get spurred up on an issue, but don’t learn about it until the last days but want to voice their opinion on it through the ballot,” Tuck said.
The bills call for late registrants to cast a questioned ballot, which McGuire and Tuck said would be verified before being counted.