The motivations of Alaska’s electorate are always difficult to gauge, but it’s clear that a majority of voters were not motivated to come out and vote in Tuesday’s primary — statewide turnout was in the neighborhood of 21 percent.
The good news for voters on the Kenai Peninsula is that we have two more chances to contribute to our democratic process this election season.
Next up is the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s municipal election, on Oct. 2. This is our opportunity to have a say in picking the people who make decisions that impact us closest to home. Voters will pick four borough assembly members, three school board members, and members of 11 service area boards.
Additionally, Kenai and Soldotna residents will be selecting city council members.
The big election comes Nov. 6, when voters will go back to the polls to pick candidates for the state Legislature and Alaska’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Oh, and that’s also the day we get to vote for our nation’s president.
As citizens, we have a civic responsibility to educate ourselves about the candidates and the issues, and make an informed decision come election day. Between now and then, there will be numerous opportunities to learn about candidates and where they stand.
There’s no such thing as a meaningless election. Every decision made by an elected official, every regulation enacted by a ballot measure passed, will affect somebody somewhere. The fact that so few people choose to participate in such an important process is disheartening to say the least.
Sure, there’s a lot going on and we all lead busy, hectic lives. But when we choose not to participate in our own government, then we get the government we deserve.
In short: The voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary was low, but there’s two more opportunities on the horizon to participate in the democratic process.