The days and weeks after the 2020 election brought about many questions, concerns, and an overall loss of confidence in the electoral process among voters. Fewer than 60 percent of all voters nationally were confident that their ballots were accurately cast and counted in the 2020 election. The Center for Excellence in Polling recently surveyed likely Alaska voters on election integrity issues and found broad support for measures that will help restore voter confidence in elections.
Voters of all political stripes in the Last Frontier support measures that will improve the security and integrity of their state elections, and they favor reforms that will give them confidence that their ballots are fairly and accurately counted.
Alaska voters support auditing for accuracy
There is broad support among Alaska voters for ensuring that only those who are truly eligible to vote remain on the registration rolls. More than half of all likely voters support requiring the state to conduct comprehensive yearly audits of voter registration rolls (56 percent). This includes a plurality of Independents (45 percent) and a majority of Republicans (82 percent).
Voters favor clean voter rolls even more when they have an idea of the types of cross-checks that would be involved: Nearly three-quarters of all voters support regular cross-checks of voter registration records against public death records (73 percent). This measure draws support from a majority of every political party:
- 85 percent of Republicans
- 54 percent of Democrats
- 73 percent of Independents
Accuracy in elections is important to voters in Alaska. The broad agreement among all voters presents a golden opportunity for lawmakers to move on reforms such as death record cross-checks and take a tangible step toward maintaining up-to-date voter registration rolls.
Alaskans support requiring ID to vote
There is broad support for requiring voters to prove their identity at the polls. More than half of all voters support requiring a current and valid government-issued photo ID to be presented when voting in person (66 percent). This includes nearly all Republicans (95 percent) and more than half of Independents (58 percent).
While a majority of Democrats oppose requiring photo ID to vote, 37 percent of Democrats support this measure—a significant number on an issue that is often highly contentious. The degree of opposition is unsurprising, given that the issue has polled similarly among Democrats in other states and the politicization of the issue by the national party. Further, only 15 percent of Alaska’s voting population are registered Democrats, giving the Democrat opposition to voter ID little statistical importance.
Interestingly, a majority of Democrats support allowing a utility bill to be used as a form of voter identification (51 percent). This is especially profound—it seems Democrat voters have an issue not necessarily with proving one’s identity before voting, but instead with requiring photo identification.
There is an opportunity here to enact reforms on the considerable support for requiring some form of identification before voting. Making free photo ID available to those who do not have one as part of any voter ID legislation may further increase support for such a measure among hesitant Democrats.
Voters support ensuring ballot integrity through signature verification
Survey results show wide support for measures that will help election officials more accurately verify ballot signatures.
Methods of verifying signatures that utilize specific technologies enjoy support among a majority of voters. More than half of all voters support both implementing signature comparison software (55 percent) and allowing election officials to access driver’s license records as ways to verify ballot signatures (56 percent).
Voters are especially enthusiastic about reforms that give voters the opportunity to correct errors in their ballots quickly and before Election Day.
- More Independents (72 percent) than Republicans (69 percent) or Democrats (62 percent) support allowing election administrators to begin verifying the validity of absentee ballot signatures and notifying voters of options for correcting any errors beginning at least 10 days prior to Election Day. Overall, nearly three-quarters of likely voters support the measure (69 percent).
- Similarly, there is widespread support among all likely voters for requiring election officials to notify voters of any errors with their ballot signature within 48 hours of finding them (78 percent).
- A majority of all Independents (80 percent), Republicans (81 percent), Democrats (70 percent) express support for this reform.
It is important to note that Independents and Democrats seem much more interested in signature verification when it involves voters being given the opportunity to correct errors in their ballots. The high degree of support for ballot verification measures lends itself to opportunities for bipartisan reform.
Voters want Alaska elections protected from outside influence
Alaska voters agree: They don’t want outside influence in their elections. An overwhelming majority of voters—85 percent—oppose allowing government offices that oversee elections to accept funding for their operations from private individuals and special interest groups.
In fact, Democrat voters (91 percent) oppose this more than Republicans (86 percent) or Independents (80 percent) by a stunning margin. No other issue polled had such profound and widespread agreement across all political parties. Keeping Alaska elections protected for Alaskans is clearly not a partisan issue.
Lawmakers in Alaska have several opportunities ahead of them when it comes to election reform. Based on the broad support among voters of all political parties, reforms such as auditing and cross-checking voter registration rolls, implementing voter ID requirements and ballot signature verification, and prohibiting the influence of outside funding in Alaska elections should be highly prioritized.
Profound support of these measures gives lawmakers the chance to make strides in improving the integrity and security of elections in Alaska. Regardless of political persuasion, Alaskans appreciate and support commonsense measures that will bring security and accuracy to the election process and restore the confidence of voters.