A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Voices of the Peninsula: What do voting statistics say about our democracy?

Kenai Peninsula Borough total voter turnout in this past October 2021 municipal election was a sad 11.84%.

By Therese Lewandowski

Voting is a constitutional right granted to all citizens 18 years and older. It is the most peaceful tool individuals have to employ our democracy. Yet voter turnout is often marginal, especially in municipal elections where it is likely your vote will make the most difference in your community.

Kenai Peninsula Borough total voter turnout in this past October 2021 municipal election was a sad 11.84%. It was 28.15% in 2020; 18.03% in 2019; and 18.70% in 2018. There are 28 precincts in the borough. Six are strictly mail-in voting.

The City of Homer voter turnout in October 2021 was 25%. In 2020 it was 37%; in 2019 29%; and 33% in 2018.

Voter turnout in our state/national elections are markedly better: in 2020 our voter turnout was 60.67%, compared to 49.84% in 2018. In 2016, voter turnout was 60.77%. In 2014, it was 56.08%. There are 441 precincts in the state of Alaska.

Voting for our state and national legislators and judges is immensely important. Just as important is voting for local city council and assembly members, school district and hospital board members — these are our neighbors guiding important decision-making that impact us daily.

What makes people choose to vote or not vote? The date of election, available time, ballot measures, accessibility to the polls, feeling uninformed, importance or concern?

The nonpartisan group Kenai Peninsula Votes is conducting a quick survey to dig into these reasons. Please take just a few minutes of your time to complete the Kenai Peninsula Votes (KPV) Voter Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PWPTJTP (you will have to copy it into your browser).

Remember, all votes count and all voices matter.

Therese Lewandowski has lived in Homer for 40 years. She is a member of the Central Kenai Peninsula League of Women Voters and is currently active in the Kenai Peninsula Votes group.

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