Anchorage's first vote-by-mail election is officially underway.

Workers put 198,000 ballots in the mail Tuesday morning addressed to registered voters. Election workers expect ballots to arrive in local mailboxes soon but said if residents haven't received one by Monday, March 19, you should call the voter hotline at 243-VOTE (8683) to request a new one.

This year, voters have more time than ever to mark their ballots; the deadline to return them is April 3.

Voters also have more options on how to vote. Polling places are gone, but starting Monday, March 26, several accessible vote centers will be open for people who still want to vote in person.

Election worker Carolyn Hall said they have one request for people who choose to go that route.

"The only thing we request of them is to bring the ballot package that they received in the mail because those cost money," said Hall. "They cost approximately $2.50 each."

In addition to mailing ballots back in the return envelope provided, voters can also drop them off at a dozen ballot drop-off boxes located around town. The location of the ballot boxes, as well as the accessible vote centers, are included in the ballot envelope voters will receive in the mail. They are also listed on the municipal voting page at muni.org/elections.

Hall said the idea is to make Anchorage elections secure and convenient to increase voter turnout.

"Last year it was 23.2 percent," said Hall. "So, we are hoping more people will participate because we are making it easier."

They ask when you get your ballot in the mail, be sure to send it back.

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