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‘Substantial Uptick’ in Voter Turnout Seen at Polling Places in Fairbanks, Outlying Areas

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Turnout was heavy at most polling places in Fairbanks and elsewhere around the Interior, with long lines reported at several sites Tuesday.

State Division of Elections Region 3 Director Jeremy Johnson says the big turnout is consistent with the number of ballots submitted before election day.

“The early voting stations have seen a substantial uptick from even 2016,” he said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

It’s unusual that turnout for a midterm election exceeds that of a presidential election year, but Johnson says that’s the recent trend in Alaska.

“Early voting has seen a substantial increase – about a 30 to 33 percent increase,” he said.

Johnson says there’s was also a high number of people also voted in-person this year.

“My gut (feeling) is there is more interest this time around than previous mid-term elections. And I’m judging that simply on the number of precincts calling saying ‘We ran out of stickers. We need more stickers.’ ”

Johnson says that’s despite ordering more polling-place supplies the past couple of elections. He attributes long lines at polling places this year to voters feeling strongly about what’s on the ballot.

Johnson adds that Elections officials won’t know exactly how much turnout increased this year until they crunch the numbers.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.