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Reality Check w/ John Tracy: To vote or not to vote

By John Tracy 6:31 PM March 23, 2017

So, here’s a question for you. Do you know who’s running for Anchorage Assembly in your area?

Chances are you don’t. Don’t feel bad about that.

I have to confess that up until I started writing this commentary, I didn’t know the candidates in my area either, and the election is just 12 days away.

The statistics tell us that 3 out of 4 eligible voters won’t bother to vote in this election.

In the past 10 years, there have been seven municipal elections without a Mayor’s race on the ballot.

The average voter turnout is less than 24 percent.

Municipal elections don’t seem to have the cache that state and national elections do, but here’s what you need to consider.

Municipal elections, perhaps more than any other, have a bigger impact on our quality of life and how much we’re willing to pay for it compared to any other time we go into the voting booth.

This year is no exception.

There are six bond propositions on the ballot totaling $104,729,000.

The bonds repair schools, fix roads and bridges, and support police and fire department upgrades.

The city estimates it will cost the average homeowner about $69.15 in additional taxes over the life of the bonds

Now, there are two kinds of voters in Anchorage — those who consistently vote yes on the bond packages, and those who vote no.

With few exceptions, I find myself in the yes camp, because I believe that you’ve got to maintain the roads, schools and facilities we use.

Others in the no camp, I fear distrust government, and somehow believe these things fix themselves.

For more than 20 years behind the anchor desk, I appealed to my fellow Alaskans to exercise their right to vote. But over time, I’ve come to believe there is perhaps nothing worse than an uninformed voter.

The Municipality continues to make it easier to vote with early voting locations and mail-in ballots, but making it easier doesn’t make the outcomes better unless we make the effort to bone up on the candidates and issues, and commit to participating.

Starting Sunday, KTVA will begin it’s election coverage of the candidates, and there’s already plenty of information online.

So there’s no excuse to not be an informed voter.

But if you choose not to vote, that’s OK. The rest of us are happy to decide how to spend your money

John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees. 

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