How to Navigate a Year of Elections
If you checked your mail earlier this month and were surprised to find a ballot there with candidates for US Congress, you’re not alone!
This year, Alaskans have a number of opportunities to make our voice heard in elections for multiple offices. And while it can be overwhelming to think about, it’s crucial for all of us to understand what elections are happening and when, so we can be empowered voters.
First up, that big ballot you might have seen in your mailbox–the US Special Congressional election. It’s called a “special” election because it’s not the regular election timing. It’s happening early to fill the vacant seat of the late Congressman Don Young between the election and January 2023. Ballots for the Special Congressional Primary were mailed on April 27, and the last day to vote is June 11.
Both the special and regular primary elections are “Pick One Primaries,” meaning that you can only vote for one candidate, and all candidates from every political party are on the same ballot.
The top four candidates from the primary election will continue onto the general election.
If you’re in Anchorage and live in the North District, the newly drawn district instead of “Downtown,” you will be able to vote in another special vote-by-mail election for the 12th member of the Anchorage Assembly. The municipal district lines were redrawn this year, so if you’re not sure what district you’re in, you can find out by going to muni.org/Departments/Assembly and clicking “Find your district/member” on the right-hand side. The North District Anchorage Assembly Special Election will mail ballots out on May 31, and the last day to vote is June 21.
In July, voters across the state will vote in a combined Special Congressional Election and Regular State Primary Election on the same ballot. There will be one ranked-choice voting section of the election for the Special Congressional Election, and the rest of the ballot will be a pick-one primary for the state legislature, US Congress, US Senate, and Governor. Election Day is August 16—voters can request an absentee by-mail ballot until August 6 or vote early in-person starting August 6.
In the fall, we’ll have a statewide November election. This election will choose the final candidates from the primary. This is a ranked-choice election, meaning voters can rank their choices 1-4: you can rank as many or few candidates as you like.
We all have the right to vote for the leaders we want to see in office. Our elected leaders, on every level, make decisions that affect our lives. These leaders weigh in on our clean energy policy and investment, healthcare, immigration policy, and federal investment dollars on the federal level. And on the state level, our leaders decide on everything from our marine highway system or statewide incentives for renewables right down to holidays we celebrate.
Make sure that you have the information you need to vote. Reach out to your friends and family, too. Together, we can make the kind of future we want to see.