Lack of work closes elections office

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Almost as quietly as it came, the Kenai office of the state Division of Elections has gone away.

Opened just 18 months ago to provide local election support, the office in the Kenai Mall closed Oct. 15.

One temporary staffer was let go.

According to Alyce Houston, Region 1 elections supervisor in Juneau, the office was closed "because there was not enough year 'round work" to keep the office busy.

She said the office was originally opened to try to streamline the process of running elections on the Kenai Peninsula.

The office also served as a place for people to register to vote, it was used for election board training and for reviewing questioned and absentee ballots cast in local elections. It also was a polling place in Kenai.

The education and review functions will now be handled through the Juneau regional office, Houston said.

Numerous options remain in the central Kenai Peninsula for people wishing to register. Voter registrations may be completed at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk's office on Binkley Street in Soldotna, at the city clerk's offices in peninsula cities, at public libraries and at the Division of Motor Vehicles office in the Red Diamond Center off Kalifornsky Beach Road.

People may also visit the elections division Internet site for a voter registration form, which, when completed, can be mailed or faxed to the division. Voters may also register at armed forces recruitment offices in Alaska.

People can register to vote in Alaska as soon as they arrive, but they may not vote for state or local candidates or issues until being registered in the state for 30 days.

To be eligible to vote, people must be U.S. citizens, be 18 years old or older, be registered before the election registration deadline, not be registered to vote in another jurisdiction and be a resident of the state and of the election district in which they are voting for at least 30 days prior to the election.

People can register to vote 90 days prior to their 18th birthday, but they must be 18 on or before election day in order to vote.

Polling places are set up for each voting precinct and the precinct name and number are printed on voter registration cards.

To find a polling place, voters may call (888) 383-8683 toll free.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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