One down, two to go.
Alaska residents exercised their democratic rights last week, voting in the 2004 Alaska Primary Election. But as evidenced by the slew of campaign ads on television and radio, the voting season is far from over.
Two more elections will be held in the coming months: the Kenai Peninsula Borough election will be Oct. 5, and the Alaska General Election will be Nov. 2.
But before residents can go out and voice their opinions, they must be registered to vote in the state.
Voters must be registered at least 30 days prior to an election to be eligible to cast a ballot. That means they have just two business days left before the Sunday deadline to register for the borough election. The deadline for the general election is Oct. 3.
While many peninsula residents of voting age already are registered, far fewer actually turn out to cast ballots in elections. Last week's primary election drew a typically small percentage of voters about 25 percent of those registered on the peninsula while borough election turnout tends to vary depending on the perceived importance of the election. Last year, only about 19 percent of registered peninsula voters cast ballots in the October election, while the numbers were higher in 2002 and 2001, 30.56 percent and 35.49 percent, respectively.
Presidential elections tend to draw the most voters about 50 percent of peninsula voters cast presidential ballots in 2000.
Voters who already are registered do not have to refile forms unless they have changed their address or party affiliation. New voters, however, must complete and send in forms by this week in order to cast ballots for borough assembly, city council, mayor, school board and service area board representatives.
Voter registration forms are available in several locations, including post offices and the Borough Building in Soldotna. Residents also can download the necessary form from the Web at www.elections.state.ak.us.
The form is relatively simple to complete. It asks for residents' names, physical addresses, birth dates and Social Security or driver's license numbers. First-time voters also must provide a copy of identification, be it a driver's license, passport, birth certificate or fishing license.
First-time voters must mail their registration application to the Division of Elections at Region II Elections Office, 800 E. Diamond Blvd., Suite 3-580, Anchorage, AK 99515-2045. Voters who are updating their registration can mail the forms or fax them to (907) 522-2341.
Voters will receive a voter card in the mail three to four weeks after registering.
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