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Elections

By the time Alaska's votes are counted in the presidential elections, it's been called. We aren't a swing state; with our population we aren't even a state people think about. In 2008, I was watching polls in the Mendenhall Valley to be sure they stayed open late enough, that people weren't turned away — the televisions were already announcing Barrack Obama the winner. 

It's easy to feel like our voices don't count in a race like that, but yesterday's election was only about our voices. So why did only 25-26 percent of people actually vote?

There's such a cynicism about voting, and it's seeped into our local elections. In the comments about yesterday's results, people are questioning how certain races or measures could have turned out as they did. There may even have been an implication that it's voter fraud.

It's not voter fraud. 

Instead of feeding into the cynicism about the voting system, at least locally, channel that energy into encouraging your likeminded compatriots to vote, or anyone and everyone to vote. 

Those friends who say, "If I voted, I would have voted like this..." or "My vote won't matter..." or "I was going to vote but then I got busy..." — remind them of the elections with measures or races too close to call until the absentee and questioned ballots have been counted. I heard a race was once won in Fairbanks on a coin toss, because the candidates were tied vote for vote. 

Even if we are unhappy with some of the results, we'll all survive having a statesman or woman whose ideas we don't quite share, we'll survive an extended sales tax and investment in the community, and we'll hopefully stave off cynicism enough to get back to the polls next year. And in November when we will vote for president, even if they've already called it by the time we make it to the polls.

 

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