Newly designed stickers by local artist Pat Race wait for voters during early voting at the State Office Building on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Newly designed stickers by local artist Pat Race wait for voters during early voting at the State Office Building on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Tangled up in blue: Forced analogies

If I had a choice, every afternoon would be like this afternoon.

I’m sitting on a bench on my front lawn and the sun is shining. It’s a beautifully brisk day, with crunchy leaves all over the ground. The dog I’m watching for a friend is enjoying rolling among them, filling the winter air with the sounds of fall. It’s November and there is snow on the mountains, but leaves in the grass. It’s the best of both seasons.

So, if someone asked me, “Do you want tomorrow’s weather to be just like today?”

I’d say “Yes” without hesitation.

Or if they asked me, “Do you want it to rain tomorrow, from morning to night?”

I’d say “No” without a second guess.

And if they told me that if I didn’t choose “Yes” or “No” on either question they’d let someone else decide for me, I’d be sure to make my vote known.

Maybe that’s a little too obvious. I’m trying to muster up an analogy about voting this Election Day. Is it working? Yeah, I didn’t think so either, but I find it easier to talk about the weather than politics nowadays.

See, the thing is my brain has been in a bit of a fog lately. I spent three days traveling back to Alaska after visiting my parents in New Jersey by going through four airports, two hotels, many hours spent in layovers and a lot of granola bars.

It wasn’t an easy trip, but I’ve learned that most things to do with Alaska aren’t easy.

Seeing that latest blockbuster movie? Get ready for a two-hour drive. Need to heat the living room? Get out the axe and start splitting wood! Want to visit those hot springs your friend recommended? Find a dogsled and start mushing. A lot of times in this state, you have to work a little bit harder for things.

Take skiing, for example. A group of my friends are getting antsy for these hybrid days to disappear under piles of snow so they can get up into the mountains and ski.

Backcountry skiing, from my remedial understanding, involves hiking up a mountain with skis on your back and an avalanche beacon in your pocket (a shovel somewhere too!) in search of something exhilarating. It sounds like an exhausting and dangerous uphill battle — anything but easy. In true Alaska fashion, though, my buddies are counting down the days to get out there.

And me? I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around a task that difficult. I’ll stick to some simpler things for now, like voting.

Did you know that Alaska is a no excuse absentee voting state? Anyone can vote early, whether in-person, through the mail, online or even through a fax machine (for me, another difficult task would be finding a fax machine).

Early voting started in Alaska on Oct. 22, which means you can walk into your local election office and cast your ballot. You’ll even get a cool sticker for your water bottle.

Do you have a hunting trip out to some remote bit of land accessible only by a 40-mile hike planned for Tuesday? Sounds like a tough, but fun, trip. Scratch something easy off your to-do list ahead of time by driving over to the Kenai, Seward or Homer City Clerk’s office or the Kenai Peninsula Borough Risk Management Building and vote today or Monday.

Did you drive your car a little too off-road in search of the perfect fishing spot, leaving you without a ride to vote this election day? Did you spend all weekend splitting firewood, leaving your arms too sore to pull the lever at the polling place? Either way, don’t worry. You have until Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. to apply to vote through electronic transmission (bureaucratic jargon for e-mail). Just visit and apply for the ballot.

Unlike most things in Alaska, it’s that easy. (If only I could say the same for analogies.)

Reach Kat Sorensen at

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