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Early voting begins in FNSB municipal elections

Alaska Division of Elections

Early voting opens today in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The municipal election coming up October 4 covers Borough Assembly and School Board seats as well at Fairbanks and North Pole City Councils and Fairbanks city mayor.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough, the City of Fairbanks and the City of North Pole are sharing an early voting station at the Shoppers Forum Mall off Airport Way. Borough Clerk April Trickey says the polling place will be open 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. for 10 days straight, through the 29th, EXCEPT for that one Sunday, the 25th, when they will start an hour later in the morning and go 10 to 6:00.

Trickey says early voting has become very popular in recent elections. This year, they added a fun feature.

“Will have a selfie station after you vote at the early voting station. As you walk out, there will be a backdrop that says ‘I voted’ with stickers on there and you can take a selfie,” Trickey said.

Early voting will close on the 29th, and that location will pivot to become a spot for in-person absentee voting.

Now those two kinds of voting look the same – you fill out a ballot at an official polling place before election day. But big difference is when your ballot is counted.

“At the early vote station, we will be able to verify that voters are eligible to vote in the municipal election. And those ballots that are cast at the early vote station, the 19th of September through the 29th, those results will be part of the results the night of the election.”

Early voting gets counted on election day, because each ballot is validated when the voter signs the register at the polling place.

“So it'll be its own precinct. It will be called the ‘early vote station precinct.’ And along with the other 32 precincts, that will be reporting on election day.”

In-person absentee ballots get counted after election day, along with other absentee ballots that are mailed in or submitted online.

The Shoppers Forum location will be open for in-person absentee voting for just two days, the Friday and the Monday before the October 4th election. However, the offices of both city clerks, at Fairbanks City Hall and North Pole City Hall, will take in-person absentee votes starting today through election day, Monday through Friday 8 to 5:00.

New in this year’s municipal election is a candidate pamphlet that has all the voting information, sample ballots, plus candidate profiles and position statements they submitted to the municipal clerks.

“Folks should have received -- if you're a registered voter, they should have received a postcard in the mail. And on that postcard, there is a QR code. If you use that QR code, it will take you right to our online candidate pamphlet. So there is some additional information out there about the candidates that voters have not had in the past.”

All but one of the candidates made the deadline and are included in the document. The pamphlet is now required by borough code. And is also available on the borough website.

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.