Election gives voters chance to speak mind


Posted: Friday, October 06, 2006

Two down, one to go.

Kenai Peninsula residents are taking advantage of exercising that right our forefathers fought so hard to get: voting.

Tuesday’s turnout was no record breaker by any means, but 22 percent, or about 8,500 of nearly 39,000 registered voters, made the effort to get to their polling site and express their opinion.

Thank you to those who took the time to make their voice heard.

Also, thank you to those who went a step further and put their hat into the ring. It is commendable to see our friends and neighbors make a commitment to our communities.

We all contribute in one way or another, but to believe so strongly to take action to help shape the future of our cities, towns and borough, whether it’s on the assembly, school board, city council or a service board, takes time, understanding and a good ear.

And although the contested races were few, they were respectable races.

It says a lot that three of the races were decided by so few votes. In Soldotna, Betty Obendorf edged Sharon Hale by three votes. In Kenai, Tony Lewis had four more than Barry Eldridge. On the school board, incumbent Marty Anderson held onto his seat by 14 votes over Marilyn Pawluk.

That says a lot about the quality of the candidates.

The propositions undoubtedly brought out most of the voters. Feeling their vote would hit them in the pocketbook, voters were pretty adamant about making sure school needs don’t become neglected, with an overwhelming passage of Proposition 1. As elections go, voters have generally taken an interest in the welfare of our future peninsula generations.

When it comes to Proposition 2, the line was much tighter. Of the 8,363 votes cast, only 1,151 separated the “Yeses” from the “Nos.” What’s great about our country is we have the opportunity to disagree.

We are glad to see the business of running the borough government put back in the hands of those entrusted with making the decisions. That is, after all, what we elected them to do. It’s when they fail to do so that we should question, expect honest answers and judge, as a whole, whether they are worthy — and competent — to stand in our place when the need arises.

The voters who took time out of their lives to get out and play a role in the civic process should be given a pat on the back for deciding action is better than apathy, that participation trumps inaction and the democratic process is something that’s still worth being a part of.

To vote and decide in what direction our community should go is one of the most important rights we’re given as Americans. Thank you to those who made the decision to do so.

We still have one more election to cover, and this will be equally as important as the others. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, it’s never too late to get on board.

The last day to register for the Nov. 7 election is Sunday. You still have time to be counted and make a difference.

Tuesday’s boroughwide election gave us all that chance.

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