Life in the Pedestrian Lane

We are going to the primary polls on Tuesday so I have to rant a little today. I have held off for nearly eight months since my last political spew, and believe me it has been difficult considering the grist for the mill that’s been flying around all spring and summer. Besides, everyone needs to be reminded to get out and vote, if for no other reason than to cancel someone else’s. So here goes …


Everyone should have received his new voter registration card by now. Be sure to take a good look at it, as we have been reapportioned and your voting place may have been changed. South Anchorage is once again part of the Peninsula and those on the lower Peninsula have returned home to vote with Homer and points south of Soldotna. All of our state senators and representatives are on the ballot this time because of the redistricting. The two ballot measures are about increasing the maximum for the exemption of the property tax and the coastal management question. The pamphlet prepared by the State of Alaska and mailed to us earlier has good explanations and arguments pro and con on both. Be sure to read them carefully.   

It’s the primary so we have to decide which ballot to vote. The end of July was the deadline for changing your registration, so if you’re a registered Democrat, Libertarian, or Independence Party voter you don’t have a choice. Undeclared, non Affiliated and Republican registered can vote any ballot. A “Measures Only” ballot will also be available for those who want to have their opinion felt on important stuff but will wait for the general election to complain about who’s running … or not.

The closed primary reminds me of a friend I had when I was a kid whose favorite color was green. She liked green so much that she wouldn’t wear any other color. When we were really young we called her “Frog” because everything her mom bought her had to be that color. I even watched her throw a tantrum once because her mom made her wear white anklets. 

When we got to Junior High age and began to think about how we appeared to others (boys) a few of us tried to cajole her into some other colors, but she wouldn’t do it. Never mind that her complexion was rather sallow, and green made her look like she was sick. Everyone of us had a favorite color (mine is blue) but our wardrobes, limited as they were, usually had a little of everything, especially if one color was particularly popular that year. My friend was in her glory when chartreuse was THE color one year. It made her look like a walking pea pod, but she was oblivious. At least she never got pinched on St. Patrick’s Day.

I see her now when we go Outside and she still wears green a lot although she has branched out with a few other colors these days. Surprisingly, her daughter, (maybe in rebellion) is one of those young women who dresses like a harlequin. I’m sure her mother winces when she sees her walk in all colorful and bright.

I don’t know my friend’s political persuasion. That is a question I don’t ask and seldom get into those discussions unless it’s with our friend Hank who argues just for the sake of arguing sometimes, but I’ll bet she doesn’t like a closed primary either even if she’s still rather monochromatic in her dress. I want to believe that she still thinks for herself and doesn’t let a party (or her friends) dictate her decisions.

I understand the rationale for the closed primary. Not wanting others to select your party’s candidates is legitimate. However, if the party can’t muster the votes from their own side to counterbalance the maverick voters on the other then they are in trouble anyway. Oh, I have voted against a candidate a couple of times, but only when the need (in my own mind) to show my disapproval of a candidate outweighed the real need for my vote FOR another candidate. After all, no one knows but me. And while I believe in the power of the vote, my vote against someone only makes me feel good, it probably doesn’t tip the final count for or against if that person is truly best for the job in his party’s eyes. With a large majority of Alaska’s voters being registered non-affiliated or undeclared the closed primary leads to a lot of frustration. It is impossible, in the primary, to vote for whomever you want because those ecumenical voters tend to select a Democrat here and a Republican there, maybe even a Green or Libertarian if they’re available. The closed ballot doesn’t allow that choice.

The Borough elections will be held on Oct. 2 and the general election will be on Nov. 5. On Tuesday, select whatever ballot suits you and VOTE. Only YOU can make your vote count.

End of rant.


Virginia Walters lives in Kenai.


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