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Get out and vote

Posted: Friday, October 04, 2002

This community should be very concerned with its recent deplorable voting record. Currently, there are 24,011 registered voters in Juneau. In all practicality, that number is probably more likely around 21,000 since the registered voter rolls haven't been updated for a while. Nevertheless, only 7,431 Juneauites bothered to vote in this past Tuesday's municipal election. That number exceeds August's state primary election by a mere 52 voters and the 2001 municipal election by 692 voters. Therefore, our recent average voter turnout is 7,181 or about 33 percent of our total registered voters.

This voting record should be of great concern for anyone wanting to retain the capital in Juneau.

A total of 15,857 Juneauites voted in the 1982 capital move election and another 16,309 voted in the 1994 capital move election. Based on the increased number of registered voters since 1994, it would seem appropriate to expect at least 19,500 Juneauites would visit the polls on Nov. 5 in an effort to retain the capital in Juneau. How are we going to change voting habits between now and the Nov. 5 general election?

While we contemplate that issue, it is imperative that we make absolutely sure that anyone eligible to vote on Nov. 5 be registered to vote. We have until 4 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 6, to register voters. Juneauites can register to vote at any one of our three local public libraries; Saturday from 1-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

Additionally, thanks to Jamie Mark's class at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, students, parents and advisors will be staffing voter registration tables at four locations this weekend; Foodland A&P, Nugget Mall, Safeway and Fred Meyer. Sign-up hours at all locations are 1:30-6 p.m. on Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Division of Elections, located in the "Spam Can" on Main Street, will also be open to register voters on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m.

Furthermore, many local real estate firms have office sites open this weekend to register voters. Check their full page Juneau Empire ad for times and sites.

Finally, you can also register by FAX at 465-2289 until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6. Registration forms can be found at www.elections.state.ak.us

P.S. Incidentally, the Ketchikan area had a higher voting percentage (96.3 percent to 95.5 percent) to keep the capital in Juneau, both in the 1982 and 1994, than did Juneau.

Jamie Parsons

Juneau



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