Voter turnout falls short of record

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Division of Elections estimated that total turnout in Tuesday's election would be about 50 percent, far short of a record despite a close presidential race and hot-button ballot measures.

Turnout was 49 percent with 447 of 451 precincts reporting, said Virginia Breeze, a spokeswoman for the division.

''We were hoping it would be higher,'' Breeze said Wednesday. ''It had been higher in presidential elections before.''

The record turnout was in 1992, when 83 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Turnout has declined in general elections since then, partly due to an increase in voter registration driven by the motor-voter law.

The division's expectations were raised by a strong interest in absentee voting.

More than 32,000 mail-in absentee ballots were mailed out, and the division received 1,224 requests to vote by fax. Meanwhile, more than 12,000 people cast in-person absentee ballots at various places around the state.

Some absentee ballots were counted on election night. The division plans to count the rest on Nov. 14, Nov. 17 and Nov. 22, the deadline for the last ballots. The state must wait 10 days for ballots mailed within the United States and 15 days for overseas ballots.

The division hopes to certify the election on Dec. 4, Breeze said.

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