Voters across the United States are heading to the polls to vote in the general election Tuesday.
In Alaska, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with Election Day coming after a 15-day period in which voters were entitled to cast early in-person absentee ballots, as well as special needs ballots and by-fax ballots.
The presidential election pits Democratic President Barack Obama against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, and a handful of third-party candidates. No candidate has visited Alaska during the campaign season, and Romney is expected to carry the state’s three electoral votes.
But the presidential contest is not the only race on the ballot.
Alaska voters will also decide whether to give U.S. Rep. Don Young, Alaska’s longtime Republican congressman, a 21st term in Congress. Young is opposed by Democratic Rep. Sharon Cissna, who represents part of downtown Anchorage in the Alaska House of Representatives.
There are many state legislative races as well, though Juneau’s races — Reps. Cathy Muñoz and Beth Kerttula are running for reelection — are uncontested. Muñoz faced no opposition in the Republican primary, either, nor was Kerttula opposed in her Democratic primary.
Two ballot issues are also up for consideration.
Bonding Proposition A asks voters whether the State of Alaska should issue up to almost $453.5 million in general obligation bonds for state transportation projects, while Ballot Measure 1 asks whether a constitutional convention should be held.
Judicial retention elections will also be held on the general ballot.
Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, wrote in an email that Alaskans who are not registered voters can still vote a questioned ballot, just like any other voter who votes at a precinct where his or her name is not on the register.
“Upon review of that questioned ballot by the review board it is determined the voter is not registered, their vote will count for president and vice-president,” wrote Fenumiai. “The information provided on the questioned ballot oath and affidavit envelope registers them to vote.”
Alaskans unsure of where they should vote can visit the Division of Elections website to find a Google-powered “polling place lookup” tool (http://1.usa.gov/Pz8085).
While visiting Juneau Monday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, had one simple message regarding the election: “Vote.”
“It always irritates me when I see these articles saying, ‘Oh, you know, this election has come down to four counties in Ohio,’” Murkowski added. “I’ve got a 19-year-old that’s voting for the very first time this year, and he started off our conversation by saying, ‘Well, you know, Mom, how important is my vote?’ So it allowed me to kind of get up on my high horse and talk about how important it is, and you know, don’t forget that it really does make a difference. And I think particularly with our time difference, Alaskans think, ‘Well, things have been decided.’ This is going to be a very close race, and the stakes are very high.”
Murkowski was reelected in 2010 despite losing the Republican Party’s nomination, becoming only the second U.S. senator to be elected via a write-in campaign. She defeated Republican nominee Joe Miller by just over 10,000 votes in the general election.
This year, Juneauites have already voted in the Aug. 28 primary election, which also included two ballot measures, and in the Oct. 2 municipal election, which included two ballot propositions as well. The general election will be their third and final election of the year.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.