The primary is a month away - make sure you're registered to vote

While the primary election is still a month away, there’s an important election season deadline looming: Sunday is the last day to register to vote, update your voter registration or make changes to political party affiliation before the August 19 primary election. Changes made after Sunday will not be effective for the primary.

According to the state Division of Elections, voter registration applications are available at any Division of Elections regional office, at municipal clerks’ offices, at the Division of Motor Vehicles, and at many public libraries. Registration applications are also available on the Division of Elections website at www.elections.alaska.gov.

The Division of Elections regional offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Mat-Su, and Nome will be open this weekend to assist voters. Offices will open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. for voter registration. Those locations aren’t necessarily convenient for Kenai Peninsula residents, but the division also accepts voter registration applications submitted by mail, fax, or e-mail.

Noting your party affiliation is important because it will determine which ballot you will receive in Alaska’s closed primary. When voters arrive at polling places or request absentee ballots next month, a choice of three ballots will be available: Any registered voter may vote on the Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot; voters registered as Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared may vote on the Alaska Republican Party Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot; and any registered voter may choose the Ballot Measures Only ballot.

That means, for example, that if you want to vote for one of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, make sure you’re registered as a Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared voter. Otherwise, you’ll need to pick another ballot.

Speaking of ballot measures, there is just one on the primary ballot, but it’s a big one — the referendum on oil taxes. A yes vote repeals oil tax changes passed by the Legislature in 2013 in Senate Bill 21; a no vote leaves those changes in place. The full text of the ballot measure is available at http://www.elections.alaska.gov/ei_primary_bm.php.

There’s certainly a great deal to consider between now and August 19, but take a moment today to make sure you’re eligible to weigh in on election day.

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