Party time: pick a ballot and vote.

Author:Harrington, Susan
Position:Editorial
 
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By now I had hoped all those thirty-five thousand unregistered voters would have registered because it's about time to vote. At press time, only about four thousand had, with less than two weeks left before the deadline on July 20 for the August 19 Alaska Primary Election. Much will be decided that day. There are eleven candidates for United States Senator; seven candidates for United States Representative; seven candidates for Governor; five candidates for Lieutenant Governor; and one Ballot Measure.

Additionally there are more than one hundred candidates for State Legislature, 25 percent Senate and the rest for the House of Representatives, though many of these races are not races, yet. The majority of them have just one or two candidates, many with two who are either a Democrat or a Republican, so when voters get their ballots, they will see only one person to vote for-not much of an incentive to mark the oval.

What if you wrote in the candidate that isn't on your ballot, but is on another ballot? Will that vote count? No. There are no write-ins on the Primary Ballot. What you see is what you get. So, if you wanted to cross party lines and vote for the person not the party, there's no way it can be done; it won't count. No mix and match in the primary, which might be one reason for the low voter turnout. It has not always been this way.

Time for a little history lesson. Alaska used to have a Blanket Primary, one ballot with all the candidates, and voters could actually vote for whomever they wanted to. After a 1947 referendum, Alaskans enacted a Blanket Primary; however, in 1960 the First State Legislature replaced the Blanket Primary with a Single Ballot Open Primary, which wasn't really open at all. There was still one ballot with all the candidates, but voters had to choose to vote either Democrat or...

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