A Native leadership team dedicated to increasing Alaskan voter turnout announced said on Thursday it helped 176 villages sign up as absentee in-person voting sites for upcoming primary and general elections.

Kodiak has three locales on board — Kodiak, Larsen Bay and Port Lions.

“Those three villages are new absentee in-person voting sites. There are three other villages — Akhiok, Ouzinkie and Old Harbor — that are on our list but are not signed up officially,” said Jeff Silverman, deputy director of communications for the Alaska Federation of Natives.

There are differences between voting absentee in-person and early voting.

When voting absentee in-person, the voter’s eligibility to vote is verified after the voter is issued a ballot. When voting early, the voter’s eligibility to vote is verified at the time of voting through the Division of Elections statewide voter registration system.

Representatives from the AFN, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Regional Association, and Get Out The Native Vote assisted the Alaska Division of Elections in creating absentee voting sites in villages that either did not have one or needed to reestablish themselves officially with the state. 

“This early voting option should make voting in rural areas easier and will hopefully improve voter turn-out across Alaska,” said Tara Sweeney, AFN co-chair.

Jason Metrokin, chair of the ANCSA Regional Association said, “Absentee voting is an absolutely essential part of Alaska’s electoral process. Many rural voters are busy during election season with subsistence activities and may not be near their polling place on Election Day. By creating these absentee in-person early voting sites, we are affording rural Alaskans the same opportunities as urban Alaskans.”

Absentee in-person voting for the primary runs from August 4 until primary election on August 19. A similar period will run before this year’s general election on November 4.

Contact Peter J. Mladineo at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com

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