The day before the first presidential candidates' debate is a good one to remind ourselves that the deadline to register to vote in the general election is Sunday, Oct. 7.
Only about a quarter of Alaska's registered voters took the trouble to vote in August.
We won't wring our hands over that fact. If only 25 percent show up, 25 percent get to make the decisions.
But that kind of turnout isn't good for representative democracy.
The presidential race is the main event, and in Alaska the outcome of that race is a foregone conclusion. But even foregone conclusions don't count until the votes are counted.
Further, on Nov. 6 (and before, with early and absentee voting) Alaskans will decide on dozens of legislative races. The outcome of those will go a long way toward deciding Alaska's course on two big, unresolved issues -- oil taxes and the Pebble mine project.
This election matters. Our votes matter.
Cynics, including some who call themselves realists, always can come up with reasons why the vote doesn't matter. The fix is in. Money rules. Elections are for show, lobbying is for dough. There's often an element of truth in that view.
But that doesn't stack up against the reality that our votes do matter, that the people still do have the power to create change, that there is a difference between candidates and that we can only write the end to this republic if we fail to show up.
Sometimes it's unsatisfying work. We don't like the choices. But citizens do it every time around anyway, because to govern is to choose. Adults know that life comes with imperfect choices. But they still make a difference, and we need to choose.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell made a good point a few days ago in a Compass piece on this page when he wrote that "Voting is vigilance."
Absence is abdication.
We want a say in how things run? We need to vote.
But we can't do that on 11-6 unless we register by 10-7.
The state Division of Elections has all the information needed for registration -- including on-line registration and elections office hours for Saturday and Sunday -- at www.elections.alaska.gov. Anchorage area residents also can call the regional office at 522-8683 (toll free 1-800-958-8683) or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.