So what are you doing next Tuesday? I know, who can think that far ahead when all of us have so much going on in our lives. There’s work, the household chores, the kids. Then there’s getting the kids ready to start the new school year, buying school supplies and new clothes.
Then on top of that we’re all trying to squeeze the last bit of outdoor fun from a quickly fading summer season. Talk about pressure. With all that happening there’s a good chance many Alaskans don’t realize an important election is looming. Yep, next Tuesday the state holds its primary.
If history holds true the chances or you being run over by a horde of voters stampeding to the polls are slim, really slim. Like winning the Powerball lottery slim. For instance two years ago in the last primary only about a third of the Alaskans registered to vote cast ballots. Those who didn’t missed an opportunity to weigh in on a truly great contest between Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller. Miller won the GOP primary by less than one percentage point, just 2,006 votes. That of course set the stage for Murkowski’s historic right-in campaign in the general election.
In 2008, about 40% of voters turned out. That’s not too bad for a primary, but again, those who didn’t show missed a good one. Longtime incumbent Don Young barely got by a challenge by fellow Republican Sean Parnell. Young beat Parnell by only 304 votes. That’s less than half a percentage point. A little higher turnout and we might be calling him Congressman Parnell right now.
An even closer race occurred in the 2006 primary. Statewide 35% of the voters cast ballots, but in the Senate District “S” race out in the Bethel area the turnout was even lower, only 29% Republicans Willy Keppel and Norman Ayagalria were in a neck and neck race for their party’s nomination. After a recount Ayagalria was declared the winner by a mere six votes. If just a few more friends and a cousin or two cast ballots then perhaps the outcome is different
So next Tuesday, despite all the things going on in life, we should all try to find a little time to cast a ballot in the primary. Your vote does count. Just ask Willy Keppel and Congressman, err, Governor Parnell.