It’s that time again. Seems to come around every couple of years. We’re voting! The Alaska primary election is on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The general election is Nov. 8. City and borough issues on Oct. 4.
The vote on Aug. 16 will also select the person to replace Don Young for four months. In June we voted by mail from a field of 48 that included Santa Claus (a real person by that name) and our former governor along with many others who may have thrown their name in just to see what rose to the top. The top four vote-getters were selected as the slate for this election. It reduced to three when the third choice resigned. But, in what may be the first yellow card of this year’s voting season, the next place was not allowed to move up because the timeline was too short. However, the voters had been promised a field of four to choose from … seems we can pick which rules to follow and which make no difference. Write someone in or rank them or not, your vote will be counted. That ballot will be on the back of the primary ballot. There are no ballot measures this time.
In the past, Alaska’s primaries have been closed. You only voted for the candidates on the ballot of the party in which you are registered. Only die-hard political groupies liked that system. The rest preferred to have the choice of the field to select from. Since most voters in Alaska are registered nonpartisan or undeclared that is understandable.
This time, all the candidates are on the same ballot and we’ll vote for one. The top four in each race move to the general election, and it gets a little murkier from there. I was no fan of the closed primary, and so far, ranked choice voting is not on my big hits list either. Reminds me of high school where we kept voting until we got the result we (or somebody) wanted. At the best, we get the most popular person, not necessarily the most qualified for the job. For an explanation of the process: https://www.elections.alaska.gov/RCV.php.
Nineteen people are registered for U.S. Senate to replace Lisa Murkowski and over 20 to take the U.S. representative slot in January, most of whom I have no idea who they are or where they come from. Also on that ballot are 10 candidates for governor. Ten days from now we are supposed to make a well-thought-out selection of one person each from those lists.
We are also voting for state senator and because of redistricting, nearly every state representative is up for election/reelection, too. Also because of redistricting, the district number you are in may have changed. Greater Kenai-Soldotna is District 7; Nikiski is District 8; Kasilof and south is District 6; Seward is with Kodiak and Cordova in District 5. Senate Districts are D for the central area, including Nikiski, and C for the others. If you have received your new voter card, be sure to check to see if your district or precinct numbers have changed.
At this reading it is too late to request an absentee ballot, but you can vote early at the usual places. If you can’t make it to the polls for some reason come election day, you can have someone bring you a special needs ballot from your regular precinct and return it to any precinct.
You can vote a questioned ballot at another site. That works for the universal candidates, but the candidates for your specific state officers will not be on another precinct’s ballot. Kenai City Hall and the borough building in Soldotna have ballots for all area precincts. Seward area early votes in the City Clerk’s office. They also have Cooper Landing and Hope ballots. Homer area early voters also go to the City Clerk’s office. They have ballots for Ninilchik, Tyonek and Seldovia. (This information in full is available at https://www.kpb.us/assembly-clerk/elections/absentee-voting-information). Early voting begins today (Aug. 6).
The primary usually sees a pretty dismal turnout. It is the one election where your voice is truly heard but most voters blow it off as not worth the time. They’ll wait and vote in the REAL election. The primary determines who is in the “real” election, and if your guy doesn’t make it, you can only blame yourself. Each vote truly counts in the primary, and this year with the top four moving to the general election it could be a real free-for-all for that fourth place.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and remain open until 8 p.m. Lots of time to come on in and place your vote for all the right people. See you Aug. 16.