JUNEAU – Wednesday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation to make it easier and more efficient to cast a ballot in Alaska. House Bill 115, sponsored by Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), adds a permanent absentee ballot option to Alaska’s existing absentee voting system.
“Exercising the right to vote is key to a strong democracy. House Bill 115 removes barriers to this right by making it more convenient to vote by mail in Alaska,” Representative Tuck said. “Absentee voting is voting by mail. By simply adding a box to check on the absentee ballot application, Alaskans can routinely vote by mail, resulting in more participation and a stronger democracy.”
Currently, the Alaska Division of Elections manages a small permanent absentee voter list that is limited to persons with disabilities, those who live in extremely remote locations, and residents of places such as assisted living facilities. Those on the permanent absentee voter list don’t automatically receive an absentee ballot. Instead, they receive an absentee ballot application. HB 115 expands the permanent absentee voter system to all eligible voters and removes the requirement to fill out a yearly absentee ballot application.
“Securely enfranchising Alaskans’ fundamental right to vote is one of our paramount responsibilities. I’m proud of our work to pass House Bill 115 today. This bill is long overdue, and I look forward to more Alaskans having an easier time voting in the future,” said Rep. Grier Hopkins (D-Fairbanks).
HB 115 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 24-to-15. The bill will be transferred to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.