If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the newspaper, TV, radio, Internet and your mailbox for the past few months, here’s a quick reminder: Alaska’s primary election is Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
When you arrive at your polling place on Tuesday, depending on your political party affiliation, you’ll have a choice of three ballots in the state’s closed primary system. Any registered voter may vote on the Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot; voters registered as Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared may vote on the Alaska Republican Party Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot; and any registered voter may choose the Ballot Measures Only ballot.
There’s just ballot measure to consider, but it has drawn plenty of attention. Ballot Measure One is a referendum asking voters to weigh in on the changes to the state’s oil tax laws made during the 2013 legislative session, known as SB 21. A yes vote rejects SB 21; a no vote approves the law.
Also getting a lot of attention in recent months has been the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently help by Mark Begich, a Democrat. Joe Miller, Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell are the top names on the Republican ballot.
Voters also will be picking candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, governor and lt. governor. A full slate of state Senate and House seats are up for election after district lines were redrawn following the resolution of court challenges to the redistricting process.
House District 29 now stretches across much of the northern and eastern peninsula, from Nikiski to Hope to Sterling to Moose Pass. Mike Chenault, a Republican, and Rocky Knudsen, a Democrat, will appear on their respective primary ballots.
The boundaries for House District 30 still include the Kenai-Soldotna area, with Republican Kurt Olson and Democrat Shauna Thornton appearing on the primary ballots.
Districts 29 and 30 now make up Senate District O, with Republican Peter Micciche on the primary ballot. He will be challenged by independent candidate Eric Treider in the general election.
House District 31 now stretches from Homer up to Kasilof, and includes parts of Funny River as well. Paul Seaton, a Republican, is the only candidate on the ballot to represent the district. District 31 is part of Senate District P, which stretches from Kodiak, the west side of Cook Inlet, and along Prince William Sound, including Cordova and Yakutat. Gary Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak, and Robert Henrichs, a Democrat from Cordova, are on the primary ballots.
More information, including precinct maps and sample ballots, may be found on the state Division of Elections website, http://www.elections.alaska.gov/ei.php.
With a number of contentious issues and races that have been debated ad nauseam, it’s already been a long election season — with the October municipal election and the November general election still to go. But there’s a reason for all the debate: issues decided and candidates selected Tuesday will be shaping the future of Alaska for years to come. Whatever side of the political fence you’re on, remember, the system only works when citizens participate. Please, vote.