Press Release: Dr. Al Gross Releases Statement on Last-Minute Polling Place Closures in Six Alaska Villages

ANCHORAGE, AK—Earlier today, Dr. Al Gross released a statement following the last-minute announcement from the state Division of Elections that polling places in six Alaska villages would not be open for today’s primary election:

By and large, the Alaska Division of Elections has done an outstanding job preparing our state for today’s primary contest. Eligible voters across our state have a number of options to consider when casting a ballot, with both in-person polling places and absentee ballots available to almost every eligible voter.

But elections aren’t supposed to work for almost all eligible voters. Our elections—our democracy—must work for all eligible voters. It’s unacceptable that voters in Arctic Village, Port Lions, Kake, Cold Bay, Takotna, and Nunam Iqua will not have in-person polling places today.

While the Division of Elections has announced it will offer voters in those villages the chance to vote absentee in person, many who live in native villages do not have access to valid mailing addresses and instead use P.O. Boxes, offering them no option to even receive absentee ballots.

It’s flat out wrong that voters in Arctic Village, Port Lions, Kake, Cold Bay, Takotna, and Nunam Iqua won’t see the same experience as voters elsewhere in our state, and I’m calling on the Alaska Division of Elections to correct this ahead of November’s election to ensure every eligible voter in our state has the option to have their voice heard if they so choose.

To voters across the state, I strongly encourage you to vote today in a way that is safe for both you and your family. While this election will take place under highly unusual circumstances, we cannot allow COVID-19 to halt our democratic process.

Visit https://elections.alaska.gov/Core/wheretovoteandhours.php to find your nearest polling location, and if you’re voting by mail, make sure your ballot is in the mail TODAY.

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