2012 Election Snapshot—Alaska

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2012 election snapshots 

Over the past several months, Pew collected data about the 2012 presidential election from nearly every state and the District of Columbia. We used the findings to create a snapshot of each jurisdiction, focusing on how many people voted, how long they waited to cast their ballots, how they cast them, and how many ballots were not counted. These snapshots will be released over the coming months, five at a time, and the Election Data Dispatches will take a closer look at the latest snapshots each week.

2012 Election Snapshot—Alaska

In the 2012 election, 18,255 provisional ballots were issued in Alaska—slightly more than 6 percent of all ballots cast in the state. Only 1.3 percent of these were rejected. This was consistent with the rate of provisional ballots issued and rejected in 2008. In Alaska, a provisional ballot (called a questioned ballot) is given when either the voter’s name does not appear on the precinct register or his or her address has changed.

Although voters in the state are assigned a polling place, they are allowed to cast a questioned ballot at any precinct within their district. This likely accounts for both the high number of provisional ballots issued—many voters casting ballots at a precinct other than the one assigned—and the low number rejected—most of those are probably cast within the correct jurisdiction.

Of the 245 rejected provisional ballots in 2012:

  • 47 percent had an incomplete or illegible envelope or ballot.
  • 27 percent were cast by voters who were not registered in the state.
  • 7 percent were cast by voters who were incarcerated, on parole, or on probation for a felony conviction.
  • 6 percent were missing a ballot in the envelope.
  • 4 percent were cast by a voter who had already voted.
  • 2 percent were cast by a voter who failed to provide sufficient identification.
  • 7 percent were rejected for other reasons.

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