At the May 8 Juneau Assembly meeting, an ordinance was introduced to make mail-in elections the default practice for all City and Borough elections going forward.

Drafted by borough staff at the request of the Assembly, the ordinance acknowledges that it is a “paradigm shift in the default method by which we conduct elections.” As such, it requires a comprehensive overhaul of the election code to scrap in-person polling stations and streamline mail-in elections into the main body of election law.

The city manager recommended that the Assembly introduce the ordinance and schedule it for public hearing at the Special Assembly meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 17 immediately preceding the Assembly Finance Committee meeting.

Citing concerns about Covid, Juneau first moved to mail-in voting in May of 2020, a decision that drew some criticism because of the known fraudulent abuses associated with widespread mail-in voting.

Public Interest Legal Foundation, which has tracked mail-in voting problems for years, states that it is the “worst way to run an election.”

“Election officials do not know what happened to nearly 15 million mail ballots in 2020,” PILF’s website notes. “Another 560,000 voters had their mail ballot rejected by election officials.”

In order to hold secure mail-in elections, PILF explained that governments need “highly accurate” voter rolls, something which Alaska has failed to attain for decades.

“Otherwise, ballots end up at the wrong addresses and some people are even sent multiple ballots under slightly different versions of their name,” PILF warns. “Voting in person is the most secure way to run an election and gives voters an opportunity to correct errors on their ballots.”

If local governments do adopt mail-in voting, PILF recommends that voters be required to individually request ballots before they are mailed out. Automatically mailing ballots to every registered voter – which is what Juneau plans to do – is “not a secure way to run an election,” PILF adds.


— Click here to read the proposed Juneau ordinance.

— Click here to contact members of the Juneau Assembly.

— Click here for information on how to participate in the May 17 Special Assembly meeting.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

‘Paradigm shift’: Juneau about to make vulnerable mail-in elections the new norm

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.