Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott has certified a ballot petition that would link Alaska Permanent Fund dividend applications with voter registrations, which initiative sponsors say could add tens of thousands of Alaskans to voter rolls. But Mallott’s Elections Division is also warning it would cost nearly $1 million to implement and another $300,000 a year to manage. One of the initiative’s sponsors, Tim Kacillas of Anchorage, said despite the upfront cost, there will be ongoing benefits to the state of having more people registered and voting. “It’s originally $500,000 for initial system setup; that’s where the bulk of the money goes,” he said. “I think the people of Alaska will think it’s worthwhile for that price,” he said.
Further, automating the registration and updating process could even result in future savings not part of the official estimate, he said.
The total cost for the first year, in addition to $500,000 to contract for work on the state’s election computer system, also includes the cost of additional staff time, the cost of running the election itself and $1,300 for printing election booklets, for a total of about $943,000.
The ongoing costs are largely for mailings to automatically registered voters, which would also allow them to opt out of registration, as well as for confirming address changes.