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Early voting matters


On April 3, 2012, citizens of the Municipality of Anchorage voted on a ballot measure that would have granted significant legal protections to LGBT members of the Anchorage community.

And I didn’t vote.

We had already purchased airline tickets for my interview with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee when I realized that we would miss the April election.

I’ve always been an “election day” voter. There’s something festive about voting with everyone else, walking around wearing an “I voted” sticker, spotting the blue stickers on other people. It’s a citizenship party!

So I had no idea how to vote early, absentee, or any other option.

The municipality’s elections office assured me that our absentee ballots would be mailed out in plenty of time. That they would arrive before Liesl and I left town.

I watched our mailbox anxiously as our departure date grew closer.

And they didn’t come.

We got back to Anchorage on April 4. As we walked through the airport, a headline in the Daily News caught my eye: “Voters reject sexual orientation initiative.”

Our two votes wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but it would have felt better to know we’d done what we could.

Liesl and I have no plans to travel out-of-state on Election Day, but we’re both thinking about voting early. We’ll be in Anchorage next Monday and Wednesday, and there’s a good chance we’ll stop by one of the early voting locations then.

Why not? It’s not like we’re going to change our minds between now & Election Day.

What about you? Are you waiting until November 6? Or, like us, have you begun to imagine some of the things that could disenfranchise you?

I hear there’s a perfect storm headed for the East Coast. It’s anyone’s guess what chaos might break out in your neck of the woods. Here in Alaska, it’s likely to be a blizzard—or worse, an ice storm.

If you know how you want to vote, why not get out there and do it?

Elections matter, and so does your vote.

As soon as you’re ready, go, and make your voice heard.

I hear you still get a sticker, no matter when you vote. I’ll let you know.


Photo by Gretchen Fitzenrider.



6 thoughts on “Early voting matters

  1. Absolutely with you, Heather! We’re mail-in here, and even after a few years of this working smoothly, I still feel anxious until the ballot’s actually in my hand. Especially this year, with marriage equality on the line in Washington. Cap’n J and I filled ours out last week and hand-delivered them to the County Auditor’s Ballot Box – and yes, there were stickers 🙂

    Happy voting!

  2. Alaska apparently has this new “electronic voting” option. Now that makes me really squirrely. I’m not a Luddite, but voting by email seems a little hinkey. Here’s the link:

    • Hmmm, big difference, in my mind, between voting by mail which Oregon has been doing for over 20 years, and voting by e-mail…with vote by mail there is still a hard copy of the ballot and an actual signature on the envelope…
      As for electronic voting, there have been electronic voting machines available for years in Alaska — if you look when you’re at the elections office, you’ll see one off to the side someplace — they’ve been available for handicapped use because you can use your voice or a hand-held controller as well as a touch screen…We never had anyone use one in all the years I was a poll worker, but I had to have special training to set it up and it had to be available by federal law…we were told.

  3. I sure like the hard copy mail-in or drop-off. Mine’s off. Happy to have it all signed and sealed in the pink and green. Didn’t get a sticker though. That’s a good point about the pending storms – hope Alaska breezes by with a little breath of wind…no ice. Have a good trip. Stay warm!

    • Bet it feels good to have it done. I’ve been fantasizing about an alternate system where we say, “OK, when we get votes in from 80% of the population, we’re going to call it.” I bet we’d have record numbers of people voting, just to get the campaigning to go away!

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