We are coming down to the wire. I think many of us who follow politics and events in Alaska and around the country are anxious. I know all of us will be glad to no longer get political mailers, phone calls or get ads on TV and the radio. No one knows exactly what will happen. Polls are just that, polls. This is a non-presidential election year, so voter turnout historically is not as high, but our state will probably see about a 55% voter turnout. It could easily be higher with all the interesting races, the ballot proposition, and using ranked choice voting.
This is our second election in which we will be using ranked choice voting. But, instead of using it for one race, we will be using it to elect our governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, U.S. House representative, our State senators and State House representatives.
Kenai Peninsula Votes recommends that you be prepared before you vote. There shouldn’t be any surprises when you fill out your ballot. You can download a sample ballot at the Alaska Division of Elections website, and if you fill it out ahead of time, it could be helpful when you go to the polls. If you are voting in person, and you make a mistake, the machine will push it back to you and you can make your corrections with another ballot.
Some of you will just ask friends or family how to vote, and that makes sense when you have limited time, but it really does help to do your own homework. Carve out some time to read about the candidates running, the judges up for retention, and the ballot measure about having a constitutional convention or not. There are many websites to find information. Unfortunately, in this day and age, if you do not have access to a computer, educating yourself about what is on the ballot is challenging. However, the state sent a voter pamphlet to all registered voters’ households a few weeks ago, and there has been information in newspapers and on the radio. Alaska Public media has a wonderful voter’s guide for the three major races in Alaska and if you want to compare where the candidates stand on issues, we suggest you go to this site: https://alaskapublic.org/news/alaska-election-candidates/.
For a candidate to win using ranked choice voting a winner must have 50% plus 1. So, for any of the races that didn’t meet that benchmark after the first night, they will have to wait until Nov. 23 when all the ballots are finally counted. The RCV tabulation will happen on that day at 4 p.m. KTOO Gavel to Gavel will provide live coverage on the tabulation.
If you have any questions about anything such as polling place, RCV, or finding out more information about what you are voting on, please feel free to contact the Division of Elections at 907-465-4611 or send questions to email@example.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember your voice counts and all votes matter.
Alex Koplin is a founding member of Kenai Peninsula Votes.