Alaska is looking into conducting more of its elections by mail, though it may not completely convert right away. Interest at the state and local government levels increased after the Municipality of Anchorage saw a massive jump in its voter turnout during its April 3 election, which was conducted entirely by mail. However, the cost also reportedly increased, in part due to the printing and mailing of ballots. The Alaska Division of Elections and the Election Policy Work Group plan to meet May 8 and 9 in Anchorage to discuss four possible new vendors for the state’s ballot systems, all of which would involve a hybrid vote-by-mail system, according to a press release issued Thursday.
“Alaska purchased its traditional precinct-based, optical scan system in 1998 and it needs to be updated,” the release states. “While the system is still fully operational, federally certified, and accurately counts ballots, its expected life span was 20-25 years, and replacement parts are no longer manufactured.”
The working group is expected to make recommendations to Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott this year, though any changes to the precinct-based system will require statutory changes, according to the news release.