Getting ready for election day
Alaska’s state general election will be held Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The ballot has many important items on it. Some will be complicated and unfamiliar unless voters have prepared themselves.
Three things will make it possible to vote and to vote with confidence that your vote supports the outcome you want.
First, if you are not registered at all – or if you intend to change your registration information – you must do so on or before Sunday, October 5. You can do so at the State Division of Elections offices; by going online to http://www.elections.alaska.gov; or by talking to one of the people outside of public places such as grocery stores asking if you are registered. If you are already registered and you do not need to make any changes, this information need not concern you.
However, if you have friends, neighbors or relatives you have been urging to register and to vote, the October 5 deadline is very important.
Second, radio, television, cable, website, mailboxes and telephones are inundated with messages about the way people want you to vote. But a good way to prepare yourself before you actually vote is to look at a sample ballot and consult the Voter Guide, which will be made available to you early in October. It will tell you which candidates are running against each other; what ballot issues will be available to vote on as well as statements by those who support and oppose; and which judges are standing for retention.
Sample ballots are available on the Division of Elections website and you must know the State House District in which you reside. If a candidate comes to your door, feel free to ask who that person is running against and why. Or ask where that candidate stands on particular ballot issues or any other subject in which you have an interest.
Third, voting early relieves the stress of standing in line if your polling location is busy when you arrive or if your Tuesday work schedule makes it difficult to vote in person. Some people really like to vote on the actual day of the election. Plus a voter who cannot physically travel to the polls can send a representative to pick up a ballot, bring it to the voter and return it to the polls for them. But your vote counts just as much if you vote early or use any of the alternative methods which do not involve going to the polls on November 4.
The word ‘absentee’ has been used for years, but actually Alaska offers many convenient ways to choose to vote. Request a ballot by mail and return it by mail, fax or electronic means. Now is as good a time as any to request your ballot by mail if you are properly registered, but there are deadlines for its return.
If you really, really like to go into a polling place, show your identification, sign the register, get a ballot and go into one of those little booths, then voting early in-person starts October 20 at selected locations. The details are very lengthy in print, so you’ll have to check them out with the Division of Elections either through their website, visiting an office or making a phone call.
Anchorage labor referendum
Voters in the Municipality of Anchorage will find an additional item on their ballots; they have an opportunity to decide what to do about an ordinance which amended local labor relations law. The item on the ballot is a Referendum on AO 2013-37(S-2) as amended. It is Municipality of Anchorage Proposition No. 1. The language on the ballot will say: Shall AO No. 2013-37(S-2) (as amended), an ordinance amending Anchorage Municipal Code chapter 3.70, Employee Relations, remain law. Voting “Yes” will allow the amended ordinance to remain in place. Voting “No” will repeal it.
Contact information for the State Division of Elections is:
Juneau, (866) 948-8683
Anchorage, (866) 958-8683
Mat-Su, (907) 373-8952
Fairbanks, (866) 959-8683
Nome, (866) 953-8683
The State Division of Elections website is http://www.elections.alaska.gov.
The Anchorage Clerk’s Office can be reached concerning elections by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 243-VOTE (8683).