Cast your vote for officials, bonds

Municipal elections Oct. 1 in many Alaska communities

Registered voters in many communities across Alaska will vote on October 1 to elect municipal candidates. Local clerks are responsible for these elections. REAA School Board elections will also be held on October 1, but those elections are administered by the Alaska Division of Elections.

A typical city or borough ballot might include a mayoral race; assembly or city council members; school board members; spaces for write-in candidates; and a local bond issue.

It is important to note that a voter must be registered at least 30 days before the election. The Alaska Division of Elections maintains a statewide voter file so it is necessary to register only once. However, anyone concerned about the validity of his or her registration for voting in October should contact the local clerk as soon as possible.

Absentee and early voting

Although many voters take personal satisfaction in showing up at the polls on election day, there are alternative methods of voting which are more convenient or necessary. These alternatives assure that an individual who is qualified to vote, but cannot go to the polls on election day, can exercise his or her right to vote. Such procedures can result in increased voter participation.

It is possible to be an absentee voter by requesting a ballot and returning it by mail or electronically. There is also voting absentee/in-person by going to a designated location and voting before October 1. Special needs voting assistance is available.

Anyone interested in such an opportunity should contact the local clerk as soon as possible because details may differ by location and there are September deadlines which apply to some of these procedures.

Help wanted

Workers and volunteers are needed in every location. Examples include working at precinct locations on Election Day; serving on election review boards, and acting as election central runners. For example, the Juneau municipality website indicates that 100 such helpers are needed for a successful municipal election process. Payment is available at the minimum wage of $9.50 per hour for those at least 18 who are registered voters, and high school students may volunteer as interns. Other locations offer similar opportunities.

A Regional Educational Attendance Area (REAA) is an educational area that is established in an unorganized borough of the state under AS 14.08.031(a). There will be 19 REAA elections on October 1, administered by the Alaska Division of Elections. For more information about the REAA elections, contact or call a state elections office.

Each vote counts

Just like every aspect of life, there are some ‘old sayings’ that apply to elections. For example, “those who don’t vote are allowing others to make the decisions for them.” “Those who don’t vote, can’t complain about the results.”

Another is, “my spouse and I both have to vote even though our votes cancel each other out.” Not necessarily so: some elections are decided by one vote.

Candidates – regardless of whether they are incumbents or challengers – appreciate an opportunity to describe their ideas about local issues. Contact information for municipal candidates in the October elections is available from local clerks.

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