Student Voting Guide | Alaska

This student voting guide explains the laws for the state of Alaska.

August 15, 2014

This student voting guide explains the laws for the state of Alaska. If you wish to vote from your school address, check the student voting guide for the state where you attend school. If you want to cast an absentee ballot in your home state, check the student voting guide for that state.

The Brennan Center is committed to giving students as much information as possible to help you exercise your constitutional right to vote. More than ever in recent history, changes to voting laws are being implemented in ways that can affect your ability to make your vote count. In addition to the content you will find in this Student Voting Guide, we continue to track passed and pending voting law changes here. While we are working to give you up-to-date information, we urge you to be proactive! In order to ensure you have all the information you need before casting your vote, you should also check with your state and local election officials for information about additional requirements or regulations.

This voting guide was last updated August 15, 2014.


General information on Alaska voter registration, including links to download and print a voter registration application is available here.

Alaska’s voter registration deadline is 30 days before an election, and mailed registrations must be postmarked by that date.[1] You may register online here and print, sign and mail your application to the Board of Elections. If you register in person before a registration official—that is, at any regional office of the Division of Elections—you must provide your Alaskan address and show some form of ID, including but not limited to a driver’s license, a state identification card, a birth certificate, a passport, a hunting or fishing license, or other current and valid photo ID.[2]  If a registration official knows you, however, he or she may waive the ID requirement.[3] If you register by mail or fax and do not have an Alaska drivers’ license or Permanent Fund number,[4] you will need to provide a copy of your ID (including proof of residence) either with the registration form or at the polling place the first time you vote or when you cast your first absentee ballot.[5]

You can register to vote if you are within 90 days of your 18th birthday or older, or will be 18 by the next primary or general election.[6]  If you have been convicted of a felony, it may impact your ability to vote.  If you think you might be affected, you should contact your local election officials.


Alaska defines voter residency as the place where your “habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever absent, [you have] the intention to return.”[7] You must be a resident of Alaska for 30 days before the election in order to vote from Alaska; you must be a resident of your district for 30 days to vote for that district’s representatives (but you can vote for President and Vice-President from Alaska even if you haven’t been in the particular district in which you’re voting for 30 days).[8]

At School. You can establish voting residency in Alaska if you have a present intention to remain at your Alaska school address for the time being, and if you intend to make it your principal home.[9]  Any other interpretation of the residency laws is unconstitutional.[10]   

At Home. In Alaska, you do not automatically gain or lose residency solely by entering or leaving the state to attend college.[11] If you are from Alaska and attend college out of state, you can continue to register and vote in Alaska unless you establish residency elsewhere– for example, by voting in another state.[12]  If you have established voting residency in another state and are moving back to Alaska with the intent to reside here, you will have to follow the normal registration procedures to re-register at home. 

Challenges to Residency.

Students have the right to cast a ballot as a resident of Alaska regardless of whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition.  If your registration is denied by a registration official, you are entitled to an immediate written statement of the reasons for the denial,[13] an immediate appeal to the area election supervisor, and if further denied, review by the local superior court for a judicial determination.[14]

Alaska gives all eligible voters the right to “question” or challenge another voter’s eligibility if they have good cause for doing so.[15] Any question or challenge made solely on the basis of your student or tuition status is invalid. If you are questioned or challenged at the polls, it must be for a good reason and put in writing explaining the reason for being questioned.[16]  You will then be allowed to vote with a “questioned ballot,” provided that you fill out a declaration form attesting to meeting the voter qualifications and having not already voted at the same election.[17]  After the election, a “questioned ballot” counting board shall determine if you were qualified to vote and if your vote was properly cast; if this is the case, then your questioned ballot will be counted.[18] Your residency address is not a basis for sustaining a challenge to a questioned ballot at the polls.[19]


You will be asked to show an ID at the polls. If you had previously registered to vote from within Alaska, you may show your voter registration card, a driver’s license, state ID card, birth certificate, passport, your hunting or fishing license, or any current and valid photo ID.[20]  You can also show any of the following documents if it includes your name and current Alaskan address: a student ID or student housing bill issued by an Alaska state college or university, utility bill (including online print-outs), paycheck, bank statement, government check or any other government document.[21] If you are known to an election official, he or she may waive the ID requirement, unless you are a first-time voter who registered by mail, email, or fax, and did not include a required form of ID, in which case, you will need to bring one of the IDs or documents described above.[22]

If you do not bring any of the above forms of required ID with you when you vote, but you provided ID at the time you registered, you can swear a declaration and vote a questioned ballot;[23] the ballot will then be counted after the election if the questioned ballot counting board determines you are qualified to vote and cast the vote properly.[24] However if you did not provide identification at the time you registered, and did not provide it at the time of voting, your questioned ballot may not be counted.[25]   

Absentee Voting

Alaska is a “no-fault” absentee voting state; this means that you may vote absentee, even if you are a first-time voter.[26] Alaska gives you the option of absentee voting in person, by mail, or by fax. General information on absentee voting is available here. You may apply for an absentee ballot online here and print, sign and mail your application to the Board of Elections.

Absentee Voting in Person. Beginning 15 days prior to Election Day and until and including Election Day, you may apply for and vote absentee in person by bringing a required ID (see above) to an election supervisor or an absentee voting official at your precinct or absentee voting station.[27]

Absentee Voting By Mail.  Alternatively, you can apply for and vote absentee by mail.[28] For this option, you can download a blank absentee ballot application form from the Alaska elections website, fill it out, sign it, and send it to the Division of Elections. You can also use the online tool on the Alaska Elections website to help you first complete the form, in which case you will still need to print it out, sign it, and send it to the Division of Elections. In each case, the Division of Elections must receive your completed absentee ballot application at least 10 days prior to Election Day.[29]

Once you have received your absentee ballot and completed it, you must include a copy of a required ID[30] (see Identification section above), and you and a witness 18 years or older must sign the included voter certificate.[31]  For a mailed absentee ballot to be counted, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day, and must be received within ten days after the election.[32]

Absentee Voting By Fax or Internet. You can also apply for and vote absentee by fax or online starting 15 days before an Election Day, at which time you can get an absentee fax or online application on the Alaska Elections website or by contacting the Division of Elections.[33] You must request an application by fax or online by 5 pm Alaskan Time on the day before Election Day.[34]

For a faxed completed absentee ballot to be counted, it must be witnessed by another person over 18 years old and faxed to the Division of Elections by the closing hour of polls on Election Day (i.e. before 8.00pm Alaska time).[35] An online ballot has the same requirements, but must be scanned and uploaded to the online system (accessible through a link sent to you via email when your absentee ballot application has been processed – be sure to check your spam filter).

Early Voting

Alaska offers “early voting” (in which your eligibility is verified at the time of voting) and in-person absentee voting (in which your eligibility is verified after your ballot is submitted), which together begin fifteen days before an election and end on Election Day.[36] Voting is conducted at regional sites, at which you can vote any precinct’s ballot in that region.[37] You should contact your regional election office to find out your designated early voting sites and hours

Last Updated August 15, 2014

[1] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.07.070(c),(d).

[2] Alaska Stat. § 15.07.060(c).

[3]  Id.

[4] Alaska Stat. § 15.07.055(e)(1).

[5] Alaska Stat. § 15.07.060(e).

[6] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.07.030(a): 15.05.010: 15.07.040.

[7] Alaska Stat. § 15.05.020(2).

[8] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.05.010(3): 15.05.012.

[9] Alaska Stat. § 15.05.020(5).

[10] See Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 347 (1972).

[11] Alaska Stat. § 15.05.020(1).

[12] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.05.020(3), (6).

[13] Alaska Stat. § 15.07.070(b).

[14] Alaska Stat. § 15.07.150.

[15] Alaska Stat. § 15.15.210.

[16]  Id.

[17] Alaska Stat. § 15.15.210; see also, Questioned Voting, State of Alaska Div. of Elections, (last visited Aug. 7, 2014). 

[18] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.20.207; 15.20.205. 

[19] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.20.207 (residency not a grounds for refusing to count a questioned ballot); 15.20.205 (procedures for questioning voters).

[20] Alaska Stat. § 15.15.225(a)(1).

[21] Alaska Stat. § 15.15.225(a)(2).

[22] Alaska Stat. § 15.15.225(b).

[23] Alaska Stat. § 15.15.225(c).

[24] Alaska Stat. §§ 15.20.207: 15.20.205. 

[25] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.207.

[26] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.010.

[27] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.061.

[28] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081.  See also Voting by Mail and Electronic Transmission, State of Alaska Div. of Elections, (last visited Aug. 7, 2014).

[29] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081(b).

[30] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081(f).

[31] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081(d).

[32] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081(e).

[33] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081.  See Voting by Mail and Electronic Transmission, State of Alaska Div. of Elections, (last visited Aug. 7, 2014).

[34] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081(b).

[35] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.066(b)(2). See Voting by Mail and Electronic Transmission, State of Alaska Div. of Elections, (last visited Aug. 7, 2014).

[36] Alaska Stat. § 15.20.064(a).

[37] See Absentee and Early and In-Person Voting, State of Alaska Div. of Elections, (last visited Aug. 7, 2014).