Alaska’s eligible voter turnout rate – 60.42 percent – is attributed to competitive gubernatorial and senatorial races in the past several elections.
In Alaska’s most recent US Senate race, sitting Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) won as a write-in candidate, beating Republican Joe Miller, who defeated her during the primary. Senator Murkowski was the first write-in candidate elected to the Senate since 1954, reported The New York Times.
Murkowski appealed to Alaska’s nonpartisan and undeclared voters – more than half of registered voters – in order to defeat Mr. Miller, a tea party favorite backed by former Gov. Sarah Palin, Shepro says. She also received support from the Alaskan Native population: Turnout in the North Slope borough was 90 percent.
Also making Alaska’s elections more competitive – there is always a third-party candidate running, usually from the Alaskan Independence Party. Shepro says those candidates don’t get a lot of support, but they do help balance the state’s majority Republican Party, which has twice as many registered voters than do Democrats.
Convenience is another factor at play in Alaska – as the state offers early (in-person or by mail) and absentee voting. Also, any registered voter can apply to have a ballot faxed to them. The “electronic transmission ballot” is due by 5 p.m. on Election Day, according to Alaska’s Division of Elections.