Anchorage election officials began processing the first ballots returned by mail on Friday. But that number amounted to just a handful compared to the number of ballots returned to the election center as "undeliverable."

Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones said so far 8,000 ballots mailed to Anchorage voters have been returned, because voters no longer live at the address listed on the records used by the city. In some cases residents say, the people haven't lived there for years.

Jones said there's a simple explanation: The state's voter database, which the city relays on, hasn't been updated with current information.

"If those are coming to people, those tenants are still registered to vote at that address in Anchorage," said Jones. "That's why they are receiving that ballot."

Former Alaska Republican Party chair Randy Ruedrich said there are thousands of people on the state's voter list who may not live in Anchorage or even Alaska anymore.

"It clearly points out voter rolls are very difficult to maintain, if people don't advise the Division of Elections that they have moved," said Ruedrich, adding he's also concerned about the cost. "If 8,000 came back undeliverable at $2 apiece, that's $16,000."

Jones said voters who receive ballots addressed to people who don't live with them can tear the ballots up, but the city would prefer they write "undeliverable" or "doesn't live here" and stick them back in the mail. Jones said that will help when they try to update the state's voter rolls. She also said if those rolls aren't updated, it's likely the ballots will be sent to the same place next year.

Jones said if people try to vote a ballot that isn't theirs the city's signature verification system will flag it. She also said if there's a question about a signature, election workers will contact the voter within three days of receiving their ballot to try and clear it up.

People who have not received a ballot by Monday or Tuesday should call the Voter Hotline at 907-243-VOTE and request a new one.

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