The Native leadership team said it completed its work and signed up 128 villages in 11 business days.
The program was organized by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Regional Association, and Get Out The Native Vote. The parties agreed on June 19 to partner with the Division of Elections in establishing absentee in-person voting sites in villages that either did not have one or needed to reestablish themselves officially with the state.
“This is just one step in ensuring the Native community is able to exercise our fundamental right to vote,” said Julie Kitka, President of AFN, was quoted as saying in the statement. “The team’s next efforts will be to continue non-partisan voter registration, and to educate voters on the issues and candidate races.”
In all, the team contacted some 180 villages. Some of the villages were already permanent absentee in-person voting sites. The team established new sites in 128 villages, which the Division of Election approved.
When voting absentee in-person, the voter’s eligibility to vote is verified after the voter is issued a ballot, the AFN explained. Since the voter’s eligibility cannot be verified at the time of voting, the voter’s voted ballot is placed inside an absentee voting envelope prior to being placed in the ballot box.
“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. A voter is eligible to vote early if the voter is voting at the Regional Elections Office where the voter is registered and if the voter’s registration record is active and current. Since the voter’s eligibility to vote could be verified, the voter simply signs a certificate and the voted ballot is placed directly into the ballot box,” the statement said.
The AFN said that Port Lions, Larsen Bay and Ouzinkie were among the 128 villages to sign up for the program.
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