2020 Juneau Municipal Election

Frequently asked questions

For all municipal voting information, call 907-364-7401, email cbjelections@juneau.org, or go to the CBJ Elections website.

The basics

Election Day for the 2020 Regular Municipal Election is Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

To vote in this election, you must be:

  • Qualified to vote in State of Alaska elections.
  • Registered to vote at an address within the City and Borough of Juneau for at least 30 days before an election.

You must be 18 years of age or older on Election Day in order to vote.

This election will be a Vote by Mail election.

Ballot packages were mailed on September 15, three weeks before Election Day, giving you time to carefully research the ballot questions, mark the ballot, and return it in time for the ballot to be counted.  You may return your ballot to a secure drop box, to a Juneau Vote Center, or mail it with first class postage. Additional instructions about how to vote by mail were included in the ballot package.

You may access help with voting questions by:

  • Calling the CBJ Election Call Center Voter Hotline at (907) 364-7401 or send an email with your questions to cbjelections@juneau.org.
  • Visiting the Municipal Clerk’s Office at 155 S. Seward St., (call 907-364-7401 before visiting); or
  • Visiting a Juneau Vote Center (September 21 – October 6, 2020).

Vote By Mail Election

A Vote By Mail Election is one in which the ballot delivery system is to mail a ballot to all eligible voters within the jurisdiction.  Vote By Mail Elections contrast to poll-based Elections, where ballots are distributed on Election Day to voters at precinct polling locations within the precinct boundaries in which they reside.  In the Juneau’s October 6, 2020 Vote By Mail Election, voters will have the option of returning their mailed ballots in several ways to a central location for counting.

  • Voters may return their ballot by mail through the U.S. Postal Service using first class postage.
  • Voters may return their ballots by placing them in a secure ballot drop box.
  • Voters may return their ballots to a Juneau Vote Center.

Vote By Mail Elections are secure. The Municipal Clerk’s Office takes election security seriously and helps to keep election secure by:

  • Not connecting confidential voter information and ballot processing equipment to the internet.
  • Checking signatures following election signature verification protocols.
  • Emptying secure drop boxes daily.
  • Training workers to securely handle voting materials.
  • Locking up voting materials and following strict ballot custody procedures.

Voters can also help to keep elections secure by:

  • Keeping their ballots safe.
  • Tearing ballots in half before throwing them away if not voting.
  • Following the instructions on the ballot and envelope.
  • Signing the return envelope in front of a witness and having the witness also sign the ballot return envelope.
  • Responding to letters and phone calls from election officials.
  • Reporting concerns to election officials right away.

Regular polling precincts will NOT be open on Election Day. You will be mailed your ballot.

However, if you prefer to vote in person, you can take your unmarked ballot package to a Juneau Vote Center and mark your ballot in a voting booth there.

The Juneau Vote Centers will be located at City Hall and at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library during these dates and times:

  • City Hall – Assembly Chambers (155 S. Seward St.)
    • Weekdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 5 at 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Election Day, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Mendenhall Valley Public Library (3025 Dimond Park Loop)
    • Weekdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Saturdays, Sept. 26 & Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Election Day, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Yes. You must apply to vote by fax or electronic transmission (e-ballot). Download and print off the application here or call the CBJ Election Center at (907) 364-7401 or send an email to cbjelections@juneau.org to request an Application to Vote by Fax or Electronic Transmission.  Complete and return the application to CBJ Elections by 5 p.m. AKDT on October 5, 2020. Instructions are included with the application. Applications received after this date will not be processed. E-ballots must be voted and received by the Election Center no later than 8p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Election Day, October 6, 2020.

In response to concerns about protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly has followed national and state guidelines and has developed new ways to provide public services.  Election planning process usually begins 6-8 months prior to election day and in March and April when planning began for the CBJ October 6, 2020 Regular Municipal Election, State and City “hunker down” mandates were in place and it was unknown at the time when those would be lifted. Also, at that same time, the State Division of Elections had not yet determined how they would conduct the August Primary Election and November General Election so the Municipal Clerk/Election Official was asked to provide options to the Assembly on how the local Municipal Election might be conducted during the pandemic.

Sending a ballot to each qualified voter in a By Mail Election ensures that all voters have the maximum opportunity to vote in the October 6, 2020 regular municipal election while maintaining the safety and security of the voters, election workers, and the voting process.

In 2007, the Assembly voted to amend the election code to allow the Assembly to call for a by-mail municipal election to be conducted by a motion of the Assembly. Planning and preparing for municipal elections usually begins 6-8 months prior to election day and in March and April when planning began for the CBJ October 6, 2020 Regular Municipal Election, State and City “hunker down” mandates were in place and it was unknown at the time when those would be lifted. In response to COVID-19, the Clerk’s office presented information on voting by mail and a proposal from the Municipality of Anchorage to offer its experience, equipment and staff to assist. On May 18, the Assembly passed a motion to conduct the Regular October 6, 2020 Municipal Election as a by-mail election. On June 29, the Assembly adopted Ordinance 2020-24(b), amending the election code to facilitate a by-mail election to be held on October 6, 2020.

Receiving your ballot

Ballot packages were mailed to registered voters three weeks before Election Day on September 15, 2020.

Every ballot package contains:

  • an official ballot;
  • a security sleeve with your “I Have Voted” sticker;
  • instructions; and
  • a ballot return envelope.

If you lose, damage, or do not receive your ballot package in the mail, call the CBJ Election Center at (907) 364-7401 or send an email to cbjelections@juneau.org to request a replacement ballot package.

You may also visit a Juneau Vote Center to vote.  You must have proper identification to vote in-person at a Juneau Vote Center.

The Juneau Vote Centers are located at City Hall and at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library during these dates and times:

  • City Hall – Assembly Chambers (155 S. Seward St.)
    • Weekdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 5 at 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Election Day, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Mendenhall Valley Public Library (3025 Dimond Park Loop)
    • Weekdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Saturdays, Sept. 26 & Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Election Day, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Ballot packages were mailed three weeks before Election Day on September 15, 2020.  If you want to receive your ballot package at a temporary address rather than your regular mailing address, complete the Application to Vote at a Temporary Address and return it to CBJ Elections according to instructions on the form no later than 5:00 p.m. AKDT on September 29, 2020.

Or, call the CBJ Election Center at (907) 364-7401 or send an email to cbjelections@juneau.org for more information.

The Application to Vote at a Temporary Address for the 2020 Election is available at this link.

If this method does not work with your travel plans, an e-ballot option is also available.

Ballot packages were mailed three weeks before Election Day on September 15, 2020. If you will be out of the country and you will not be able to receive your mail in time to return your ballot – and you are able to send and receive an email or fax – print and complete the Application to Vote by Fax or Electronic Transmission (e-Ballot) or call the CBJ Election Center at (907) 364-7401 to request an Application to Vote by Fax or Electronic Transmission (e-Ballot). Applications to vote by fax or electronic transmission are due to CBJ Elections no later than 5:00 p.m. AKDT on October 5, 2020. Applications received after this date will not be processed. E-ballots must be voted and received by the Election Center no later than 8p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Election Day, October 8, 2020.

Or, call the CBJ Election Center at (907) 364-7401 or send an email to cbjelections@juneau.org for more information.

Please cross out the address, write “return to sender – no longer at this address” and drop it in the mail. These returned envelopes will be provided to the State of Alaska Division of Elections to help the state maintain the voter registration list.

Marking and returning your ballot

Mark your ballot using a black or blue pen, completely filling in the oval beside the selection of your choice.  Instructions for marking your ballot are provided in your ballot envelope and also shown on the ballot.

Every voter in CBJ can vote for every race on the ballot. The Juneau Assembly Districts reflect the residency of the candidate only — candidates are elected by all voters and serve all voters.  The candidate residency districts ensure a geographic diversity of representation on the Assembly.

The ballot contains instructions about how to correct mistakes while marking your ballot. If you make a mistake on your ballot, you can correct it by striking through the oval and the candidate’s name or proposition answer that you do not want to vote for​ and filling in the oval beside the candidate or proposition you do wish to vote for, as shown in the example below.

Anyone over the age of 18, regardless of their relationship to you, may witness your signature on the return ballot envelope.  If the person is unknown to you, please show them ID.

Also, a Juneau Vote Center worker will be happy to witness your signature on your ballot at one of the Vote Centers — just show them your ID.

If all else fails, the Juneau Assembly adopted an emergency ordinance addressing this issue and has stated that if all other voter identification matches a returned ballot, including voter signature verification, the ballot will not be discounted for the lack of a witness.

You may remove it and throw it away.

The ballot stub is used by the printer to account for the number of ballots issued, and the one you received with your ballot in the mail has no use to the voter or CBJ elections. If you do not remove it and have sealed your ballot with the stub in your return envelope, do not worry: Election staff will remove it, and your ballot will be processed. For ballots issued at a Juneau Vote Center, those ballot stubs will be retained by our Vote Center workers to ensure ballot accountability at each of the Vote Center locations.

You may choose one of three methods to return your ballot.

  • Take your ballot return envelope with first class postage (55-cent/”Forever” stamp) to a U.S. Post Office. ​ (Please note – the address it is being mailed to is the CBJ Post Office address located in Anchorage and that is not a typo.)

Or, save postage and:

  • Place your ballot return envelope in a secure ballot drop box.
  • Take your ballot return envelope to a Juneau Vote Center.

If you choose to mail your ballot rather than drop it at a Juneau Vote Center or a drop box, it requires a 55-cent stamp, also known as a “Forever Stamp.”

Juneau Vote Centers

A Juneau Vote Center is a location where you can get voter services and is taking the place of the Early/Absentee Stations and Polling Precincts on Election Day. Voters may come to a Juneau Vote Center to deliver a completed mailed ballot return envelope, replace a lost or damaged ballot, receive a ballot package if they did not receive one in the mail, vote a questioned ballot, receive voting assistance, and get help with other voter questions.

The Juneau Vote Centers are located at City Hall and at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library during these dates and times:

  • City Hall – Assembly Chambers (155 S. Seward St.)
    • Weekdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 5 at 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Election Day, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Mendenhall Valley Public Library (3025 Dimond Park Loop)
    • Weekdays, Sept. 21 – Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Saturdays, Sept. 26 & Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Election Day, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

At a Juneau Vote Center, you may:

  • Return your mail ballot.
  • Vote in-person if you lose, damage, or do not receive your ballot package in the mail.
  • Receive voting assistance and/or have an election official witness your signature on your return ballot envelope.
  • Access help for other voter questions.
  • Register to vote.
  • Vote a Questioned Ballot.
  • Pick up or turn in a Special Needs Ballot for a voter who needs a replacement ballot if they are unable to go to the Vote Center themselves due to age, disability, illness or quarantine.

You have two options for returning the ballot you receive in the mail to a Juneau Vote Center:

  • You may drop off your ballot return envelope containing your marked ballot, or
  • You may take your unmarked ballot package to a Juneau Vote Center and mark your ballot in a voting booth and place it in the ballot box at the Vote Center.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • a State of Alaska voter card
  • a State of Alaska driver’s license
  • a State of Alaska I.D. card
  • a military I.D. card
  • a passport
  • a hunting or fishing license
  • other current or valid photo identification
  • other identification acceptable in State of Alaska elections

Secure ballot drop boxes

Ballot Drop Box - Auke Bay

A secure ballot drop box is a secure container, specifically manufactured for receiving ballots, where voters may place their return envelope containing their marked ballots which does not require a stamp.

Secure Ballot Drop Boxes are placed at the following locations:

With regard to the ballot drop box in the Statter Harbor Boat Launch parking lot: This is not the parking lot by the Harbormaster’s office, but rather it is next to the launching ramp in the large, new parking lot across from the area known as “Squires Rest.”

Secure ballot drop boxes will be open 24 hours, 7 days a week, until 8 p.m. on October 6, Municipal Election Day.

Voters in line at a secure ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on October 6 (Election Day) will be allowed to drop off their ballots and the secure ballot drop boxes will be lock up following the last ballot dropped that was in line at 8 p.m.

Questioned ballots

A Questioned Ballot is a voted ballot that has been segregated because the voter’s information is not the same as the information in the Voter Registration Database. The voter places the voted ballot into the security envelope, places both in the voter’s ballot return envelope, signs the Voter Declaration, and places everything in a Questioned Ballot Envelope. Election Officials review and verify information on the envelope to determine whether to accept or provisionally reject the ballot.

Possible reasons a voter would need to vote a Questioned Ballot:

  • Voter’s name cannot be found in the Voter Registration Database.
  • Voter does not have identification and is not personally known to an election worker.
  • Voter has moved and must update their address.
  • Voter’s name has changed.
  • Voter is not a U.S. citizen.
  • A registered observer challenges a voter.
  • Voter is younger than 18 years of age.
  • Voter arrived at a Juneau Vote Center after 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Election security

Vote by Mail elections are secure.  The Municipal Clerk’s Office takes election security seriously and helps to keep election secure by:

  • Not connecting Vote by Mail equipment to the internet.
  • Checking signatures following election signature verification protocols.
  • Emptying secure drop boxes often.
  • Training workers to securely handle voting materials.
  • Locking up voting materials and following strict ballot custody procedures.

Voters can also help to keep elections secure by:

  • Keeping their ballots safe.
  • Tearing ballots in half before throwing them away if not voting.
  • Following the instructions on the ballot and envelope.
  • Signing the return envelope in front of a witness and having the witness also sign the ballot return envelope.
  • Responding to letters and phone calls from election officials.
  • Reporting concerns to election officials right away.

Ballot envelopes are assigned a unique barcode for each individual voter. Upon return, only one ballot envelope from any voter is accepted – the first one in. Others are rejected. Ballots in an envelope with no barcode are rejected. Voting more than once in the same election, with the intent that your vote be counted more than once, is voter misconduct in the first degree under Alaska Statutes 15.56.040. Voter misconduct in the first degree is a class C felony.

Every return ballot envelope must be signed by the voter. The voter’s signature is validated based on official signatures already on file with the State of Alaska – e.g. the voter’s registration document, prior election materials, motor vehicle transactions, PFD application, etc. Election officials who adjudicate signatures are trained with techniques used to identify matches and forgeries.

If two trained election officials agree that the signature doesn’t match, the voter is contacted by mail and provided an opportunity to cure the discrepancy. This cure opportunity period extends ten days after Election Day to allow all votes to be counted.

No. Ballots are mailed only to active registered Juneau voters.  The question of U.S. citizenship is handled during the voter registration process – only citizens of the U.S. who are residents of Juneau, Alaska, may register to vote in a municipal election. This process occurs long before ballots are mailed.

Your Vote By Mail ballot is not forwarded to your new address. Each signature on a returned ballot envelope is reviewed by two trained election officials to ensure that your ballot isn’t voted by another person. If you move, forget to update your voter registration, and don’t receive your ballot in the mail, you can call 907-364-7401 to request an application for a ballot package to be mailed to your new address. Alternatively, you may go to a Juneau Vote Center to obtain a ballot package in person. You will be required to provide identification and a signature so we can verify your identity. When a new ballot package is issued to you, your previous ballot package will be voided, which is another way for election officials to tell that if it is returned, it wasn’t voted by you.

After you vote

  • Ballots were mailed on September 15, 2020, to all Juneau voters at the Permanent Mailing Address listed in the State of Alaska Voter Registration Database, or to a temporary address provided by the voter by September 6, 2020. Voters may submit a request for a ballot to be mailed to a temporary address up until, and no later than 5 p.m. on September 29, however, the earlier date is recommended to facilitate timely arrival of ballots.
  • Voters receive a ballot package in the mail, vote the ballot, place the voted ballot into a secrecy sleeve, which in turn is placed into a return ballot envelope. Voters then sign the ballot oath on the return ballot envelope.  Voters add postage and mail the ballot, to be postmarked by Election Day October 6, 2020. Alternatively, voters may place ballot return envelopes in a CBJ Drop Box (Locations: Douglas Library/Fire Hall, Auke Bay/Statter Harbor Boat Launch parking lot) or return it to a CBJ Vote Center (City Hall Assembly Chambers or Mendenhall Valley Library) on or before 8 p.m. on Election Day October 6, 2020.
  • Ballot return envelopes are mailed directly to the CBJ Elections P.O. Box in Anchorage and will be collected daily by Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) Election Team members with ballot review processing to begin upon receipt.
  • Ballot return envelopes received in Juneau at the Vote Centers or in the ballot drop boxes will be collected and taken to Anchorage by Juneau Election Officials after Election Day. CBJ Election Officials will then work with the Municipality of Anchorage Election Team to review those ballots for proper identification, witnessing and voter signature verification. Voters, whose ballot return envelope has been found deficient for any reason (such as lack of voter signature) will be sent a “Cure Letter” from the MOA/CBJ Election team within three days of processing the ballot return envelope.
  • Voters who receive cure letters must follow the instructions on the cure letter for further review and processing of the ballot prior to the Canvass Board certification of the election on October 20, 2020. MOA Election staff will receive and process cure letters and the associated ballots at the direction of the CBJ Election Official.
  • The CBJ Election Official will oversee all ballot review, processing and tabulation.
  • In order to allow for the accurate, secure processing of ballots as outlined above, “Unofficial Results” will first be available on October 9, 2020 and not on Election Night.
  • Ballots received in the mail after Election Day, but postmarked on or before Election Day, October 6, and before the Canvass Board meeting to certify the election on October 20, 2020, will be sorted, reviewed, verified or sent cure letters, and ultimately processed, tabulated and the results will be added to become final results for certification. The Canvas Board will meet in Juneau on October 20, 2020.

Election Center Virtual Tour – Take a tour of the Vote By Mail / Vote at Home process and the Anchorage Municipal Election Center!  (This video shows the facility and processes that the Municipality of Anchorage is sharing with CBJ for the 2020 Elections through an intergovernmental agreement – some details and dates are different for the October 6 CBJ election, such as preliminary results will not be available until October 9, and the Canvass Board will meet to certify the election on October 20).

Unlike poll-based elections, preliminary “unofficial” results will not be available on Election Day.

All ballot return envelopes will be processed at the Anchorage Election Center by trained election officials according to a contractual agreement between the City and Borough of Juneau and the Municipality of Anchorage, which has conducted several successful by mail elections. A preliminary tally of all ballot return envelopes received through the mail, at Juneau Vote Centers and in the secure drop boxes will be available on Friday, October 9, 2020 as “unofficial results.” Review work will continue on mailed ballots and a second “unofficial result” will be available on October 16, 2020.  The Canvass Board will meet on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 to certify the “official results” and the election.