The number of elections in Alaska varies by year, but typically municipal elections occur every year, plus primary and general elections for federal and state offices occur during even-numbered years. Alaska has a gubernatorial election every four years. Members of the state's United States congressional delegation run for election or re-election at the times set out in the United States Constitution. Primary elections assist in choosing political parties' nominees for various positions. On a regional basis (see list of boroughs and census areas in Alaska), elections also cover municipal issues. In addition, a special election can occur at any time.

In a 2020 study, Alaska was ranked as the 15th hardest state for citizens to vote in.[1]

Primary elections

As of 2014, registered voters in Alaska were given a choice between three primary ballots reflecting a semi-closed primary system.[2] Specifically, Democratic, Libertarian, Alaskan Independence and Independent candidates were listed on one ballot available to all registered voters and Republican candidates were listed on a second ballot available to voters registered as Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared.[2] In 2020, Alaskan voters approved an initiative to implement a top four primary system with a single, open primary where candidates from all parties are listed on the ballot and the top four vote getters advance to the general election.[3] The first elections using the new system will be the 2022 election cycle.

Alaska elections

Presidential elections

Main article: United States presidential elections in Alaska

Presidential election results[4]
Year Republican Democratic
1960 50.9% 30,953 49.1% 29,809
1964 34.1% 22,930 65.9% 44,329
1968 45.3% 37,600 42.7% 35,411
1972 58.1% 55,349 34.6% 32,967
1976 57.9% 71,555 35.7% 44,058
1980 54.4% 86,112 26.4% 41,842
1984 66.7% 138,377 29.9% 62,007
1988 59.6% 119,251 36.3% 72,584
1992 39.5% 102,000 30.3% 78,294
1996 50.8% 122,746 33.3% 80,380
2000 58.6% 167,398 27.7% 79,004
2004 61.1% 190,889 35.5% 111,025
2008 59.4% 193,841 37.8% 123,594
2012 54.8% 164,676 40.8% 122,640
2016 51.3% 163,387 36.6% 116,454
2020 53.1% 189,951 42.8% 153,778

Alaskans have voted in United States presidential elections since 1960. With the exception of the candidacy of Barry Goldwater in 1964, the Republican Party has carried Alaska in every presidential election.

Vote in Alaska National vote
Year Candidate Year Candidate
1960 Richard Nixon 1960 John F. Kennedy
1964 Lyndon B. Johnson 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson
1968 Richard Nixon 1968 Richard Nixon
1972 Richard Nixon 1972 Richard Nixon
1976 Gerald Ford 1976 Jimmy Carter
1980 Ronald Reagan 1980 Ronald Reagan
1984 Ronald Reagan 1984 Ronald Reagan
1988 George H. W. Bush 1988 George H. W. Bush
1992 George H. W. Bush 1992 Bill Clinton
1996 Bob Dole 1996 Bill Clinton
2000 George W. Bush 2000 George W. Bush
2004 George W. Bush 2004 George W. Bush
2008 John McCain 2008 Barack Obama
2012 Mitt Romney 2012 Barack Obama
2016 Donald Trump 2016 Donald Trump
2020 Donald Trump 2020 Joe Biden

United States congressional delegation elections

Main article: United States congressional delegations from Alaska

United States Senate elections

Alaska has a Class II Senator (currently Dan Sullivan) and a Class III Senator (currently Lisa Murkowski). Alaska first elected Senators in 1956 under the "Alaska–Tennessee Plan." They had no vote in the Senate, but were sent to represent Alaska as if they were, to lobby for statehood, and to assume the office of senator should the situation arise. Alaska's first voting senators were elected in the 1958 election; it was a special election due to the former territory's pending admission as a state.

Class II Senate elections

Class III Senate elections

United States House of Representatives elections

Alaska has had a single congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since statehood was granted in 1959.

Gubernatorial elections

Main article: List of governors of Alaska

Alaska Legislature elections

Alaska Senators have terms of four years; half of them are elected every two years. Alaska Representatives have terms of two years; all of them are elected every two years.[5] The state's redistricting process allows the power to shorten the terms of state senators should a redistricting action substantially alter their district.

Municipal elections

Virtually all of the state's municipalities hold their general elections in early October, with the notable exception of Anchorage. North Pole for many years held their elections in November, in the process holding them on the same day as state elections on even-numbered years, but eventually abandoned that in favor of October elections. Anchorage switched from an early October election day to one in early April around 1992.

Political parties

There are four qualified political parties.[6]

Lawsuits launched by Joe Vogler and Jim Sykes, among other lawsuits, led the Alaska Legislature to eventually revamp and relax laws pertaining to party status and ballot access. The first instance of a minor party gaining recognition came in 1982, when the gubernatorial candidacy of Dick Randolph under the Libertarian Party was successful enough to meet the existing party recognition threshold.

See also


  1. ^ J. Pomante II, Michael; Li, Quan (15 Dec 2020). "Cost of Voting in the American States: 2020". Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy. 19 (4): 503–509. doi:10.1089/elj.2020.0666. S2CID 225139517. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b Harrington, Susan (July 1, 2014). "Voter Registration: It's Not Automatic, but It's Easy". Alaska Business Monthly. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015 – via Highbeam Research. Alaska law allows a political party to select who may participate in their party's primary.
  3. ^ Piper, Kelsey (2020-11-19). "Alaska voters adopt ranked-choice voting in ballot initiative". Vox. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  4. ^ Leip, David. "General Election Results – Alaska". United States Election Atlas. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Article 2, Section 3 Archived 2008-07-18 at the Wayback Machine of the Constitution of Alaska
  6. ^ "State of Alaska - Recognized Political Parties". Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-10-11.