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Organization : Division of Elections
Facility : Primary Election
State : Alaska
Country : United States
Primary Election Information :
Primary Election Day and Hours :
** Third Tuesday in August of even numbered years.
** Polls are open Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
2016 Primary Election :
** Election Day – Tuesday, August 16, 2016 – Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
** Registration and Registration Updates Deadline – Sunday, July 17, 2016
** Early and In-Person Absentee, Special Needs and By-Electronic Transmission Voting Begins –
** Monday, August 1, 2016
** Absentee By-Mail Application Deadline – Saturday, August 6, 2016
** Absentee by Electronic Transmission Application Deadline – Monday, August 15, 2016, 5:00 p.m. Alaska Time
Alaska’s Vote Counting Systems :
How does Alaska count ballots at the precincts? :
Alaska uses three different methods to count ballots at the precinct level :
** optical scan;
** touch screen with a voter verifiable paper audit trail; and
** hand count
Each precinct receives paper ballots that are either hand counted when the polls close or counted using an optical scan unit as the voter inserts the ballot into the optical scan. In addition, during federal elections, each precinct has a touch screen voting unit that is intended for use by voters who are blind, disabled or have reading difficulties.
How does Alaska count absentee and questioned ballots? :
** For federal and state elections, early vote, absentee and questioned ballots are counted using the optical scan voting system.
** This is performed at the regional office by a bi-partisan board.
** During Regional Educational Attendance Area and Special Local Elections conducted by the State of Alaska, absentee and questioned ballots will either be hand counted or counted using the optical scan system depending upon the size of the election.
Alaska’s Ballot Count Methods Alaska uses three different methods to count ballots at the precinct level:
** Optical Scan
** Touch Screen w/ voter verifiable paper trail.
Hand-count precincts are those precincts that are in rural areas of the state with few voters. After the polls close, the election boards tally the ballots using prepared tally books and then call in the results to the appropriate regional office. The regional offices then data enter the results into the election database and uploads the results to the statewide database in the Director’s Office via modem connection. There are 137 hand-count precincts in Alaska.
Optical scan precincts are those in the urban areas of the state or those that have a large number of voters. After the voter votes, the voter inserts his/her ballot into the optical scan unit which is attached to a ballot box. When the polls close, the election board ends the election and transmits the results via a telephone line directly to the statewide election database in the Director’s Office. There are 304 optical scan precincts in Alaska.
Touch screen units used in Alaska have a voter verifiable paper trail that allows the voter to verify the printed version of the ballot prior to casting the ballot. When voting on a touch screen, the voter has the option of having the ballot on the screen and/or listen to an audio version of the ballot and using a keypad to make the selection. Like the optical scan, when the polls close, the election board ends the election on the touch screen and then transmit results either via telephone line (for optical scan precincts) or by calling in the results to the regional office (for hand-count precincts).
Testing of the Vote Counting System and Election Security Project :
Election Program Security Measures :
The Alaska Division of Elections is dedicated to the security and accuracy of our election process. The Division recognizes that any election system is susceptible to fraud if security measures are not in place. Alaska has extensive procedures, with multiple layers, of security which include a combination of people, processes and technologies to help us conduct secure, trustworthy and accurate elections.
Election Security Project :
Former Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell and the Division of Elections partnered with the University of Alaska to analyze the State of Alaska’s voting technologies, systems and procedures to count and tabulate ballots by optical scanning and touch screen systems. The University was asked to review the current system and determine if there are security problems that could jeopardize the results of elections. The purpose of this study was to assess vulnerabilities that may exist in the system so the Division of Elections could implement strategies to mitigate these vulnerabilities.