Perceptions of Universal Ballot Delivery Systems
A total of 412 registered voters in the Bethel, Dillingham, and Kusilvak Census Areas completed surveys with ISER interviewers in March and April of 2018. The majority (74%) of respondents reported their race as Alaska Native and 13% were White.
Near the beginning of the survey, interviewers asked respondents how they preferred to receive their ballot and 60% said they preferred to get it in person on Election Day, 21% would prefer to receive it by mail, and 17% would prefer to receive their ballot online. After respondents heard a description of three voting methods being considered: 1) keep voting the way it is now; 2) mail out and mail back; and 3) receive ballot in the mail and have different ways to return it their preferences changed somewhat. Of the three methods, keep voting the way it is now was the first choice by 49% of respondents, followed by 36% for option 3, and 14% for option 2. Respondents had little experience with voting methods other than in-person.
When asked what made it difficult for them and other members of their community to vote, personal reasons, such as being sick or out of town, was the most frequent (37%) response. About two-thirds (64%) reported personal reasons made it difficult for people in their community to vote followed by 46% saying that the ballot being written in English made it difficult for people in their community. Over half (56%) of respondents reported they are satisfied with their mail service, only 17% of those who were satisfied said they would prefer to receive or return their ballot by mail.