Governor Sean Parnell today signed the final bill of the 2013 legislative session. House Bill 104, sponsored by the governor, makes statutory changes necessary to maximize efficiency in conducting state-run elections.
House Bill 104 makes a number of changes to laws governing absentee voting for voters stationed abroad in the military, living or traveling overseas, and residing in remote areas of the state. The governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell as well as commissioners and legislators.
"We have an obligation to ensure each and every registered voter has access to a ballot, especially our men and women serving in uniform," Governor Parnell said. "This legislation will improve efficiency within the Division of Elections, while also matching several State and federal election law provisions."
The bill changes the date of the primary election from the fourth to the third Tuesday in August. This will ensure the Division of Elections can timely comply with provisions in federal law requiring the division to transmit ballots to military and overseas voters.
"The whole idea is access to the ballot -- it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat," Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell said. "This bill adds state help for school district elections in rural Alaska and helps military voters serving around the world. By moving the primary date up a week, we can ensure military members overseas receive their ballots in a timely manner. We also enable their children who turn 18 while overseas to register and vote in the state."
The bill also:
- Allows the Division of Elections to conduct elections for advisory school boards in regional educational attendance areas.
- Allows a qualified voter residing outside the United States to register to vote absentee if the qualified voter's parent or guardian was domiciled in Alaska immediately before leaving the United States.
- Allows the Division of Elections to designate municipal clerks to act as absentee voting officials to distribute absentee ballots to qualified voters and their representatives.
- Streamlines several aspects of the absentee voting process.