Alaska Division of Elections continues to process absentee and questioned ballots
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With Election Day nearly one week past, the Alaska Division of Elections continues to tally results.
The ballots that were cast at polling places early and on November 8th have largely been added to the unofficial results.
Left to process are absentee ballots, both in-person and by-mail, online votes and questioned ballots.
When these votes reach the Division of Elections, they are checked on the outside of their envelope by election staff to make sure they eligible to be counted. They are then checked by a bipartisan absentee review board. Finally, on specified dates, they are opened and counted.
After this process is completed, all votes go to the State Review Board. According to the division’s Director, Gail Fenumiai, “The state review board is the board that comes after we’ve done all counting, and they go through all of the material and they’re the ones who look at everything. They make sure all the ‘I’s are dotted and the ‘T’s are crossed and they’re the ones who actually will say ‘Ok, the results are official and we’ve been through them. We certify... you can now certify the election.’”
Questioned ballots go through a similar review process, but with a different review board.
Mail-in ballots have, so far, seen a rejection rate of 1.1% this election, much lower than with the Special Primary this year, which saw as much as 4.5% of ballots not counted.
Fenumiai attributes this to better education on the requirements for an absentee ballot. “All the requirements to have your by-mail ballot count are still in place - signature, photo identifier and a witness. I think that we really tried hard in every message we got out about absentee voting, ‘Make sure you have those three components to ensure that your ballot can be included and eligible for counting.’ So I don’t think anything other than that... I mean we really pushed that message out hard.”
The next set of results is scheduled to be released on November 15, followed by another update expected on November 18.
Then, November 23, the division plans to hold a live-streamed event in which voters can watch as round after round of ranked-choice voting is tallied in each race.
The target date to certify the results November 29.
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