Reality Check: Will voting by mail deliver for Anchorage?
Today is election day in Anchorage. So is tomorrow, and every day until April 3. That sounds a little strange to us, but if you’re a registered voter in the municipality you will soon receive your ballot in the mail-- if you haven’t already.
You’ll have until April 3 to return them-- or if you’re old school, there are a dozen secure drop boxes around town where you can hand deliver your ballot.
And closer to April 3, there will be a handful of polling places where you can fill out your ballot the old-fashioned way.
This is the first time the Muni is holding an election by mail-in ballots. But we’re hardly the first. Most states now allow mail-in balloting for voters in states like Washington, Oregon and Colorado-- and they've have been doing it for some time now.
Change is hard for some people, but there are some pretty good reasons to give this a try. First of all, our voter turnout is historically abysmal. Just one in four registered voters on average have gone to the polls over the last 10 city elections.
I don’t know why we don’t vote, but if the reason is that you just didn’t have time, you’ll no longer have that excuse.
And if you didn’t vote because you felt uninformed, you can now do your research at the kitchen table. You shouldn’t be caught by surprise by anything on the ballot.
A lot of partisans aren’t happy with mail-in balloting because it’s easier to win elections with low voter turnouts if you can motivate your base.
But when you have just 25 percent voter turnout, a candidate or ballot proposition can win an election with the support of less than 15 percent of registered voters.
So much for representative Democracy.
Voter turnout in Iran’s last election, by the way, was 73 percent.
It’s always surprised me how amped up Alaskans get over the dividend and then don’t bother to vote in local elections.
This time, there are more than $95 million in propositions on the ballot. Obligations that come directly come out of your wallet.
And by the way, I tend to vote yes because I believe we need to maintain things around here.
If you still believe voting doesn’t make a difference, by all means, don’t vote. It makes my vote more valuable, and I’m happy to help determine how to spend your tax dollars without you.
But if you believe that voting is the best way to place a check on local government, then this election, your check is in the mail.
John's opinions are his own and are not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: