What are you doing on March 1? Going to Fur Rondy? Getting geared up to watch the Iditarod racers?
If you're an Alaska Republican, I hope you'll mark your calendar for 3-8 p.m. this coming Tuesday. Make time to vote in the Alaska Presidential Preference Poll.
March 1 is Super Tuesday in 12 states, and it will be the biggest single voting event of the "primary" season. Alaska is a part of this tradition.
Alaska's Republican Party hosts what we call a Presidential Preference Poll that day. Staffed entirely by volunteers from each legislative district, the PPP, as it's known, gives Republicans voice in choosing the next president.
In Anchorage, there are several places where you can vote; all the voting places around the state are listed on our website at www.alaskagop.org
The results of the PPP are binding to the 28 delegates who will be chosen to attend the Republican National Convention in July. When Alaska's vote is counted at the convention in Cleveland, those delegates from Alaska represent the will of the people back home who took the time to show up at their district polling location in March.
Alaska's 28 delegates equal the number awarded to Oregon and are just two fewer than Iowa, so our state is well-represented on the national level going into the national convention.
In recent weeks we've seen outreach to Alaskans from the campaigns of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, all encouraging Alaskans to take part in the PPP. We've seen sign-wavers for Donald Trump in Anchorage. Because of the interest and the breadth of candidates, we expect a record turnout.
Alaska is also the only state in the West to take part in Super Tuesday, which adds to the excitement and the attention we're seeing by national media.
Alaska Republicans are growing our party. In 2002 Alaska had 118,000 registered Republicans, while Democrats numbered 73,000. Today, we have more than doubled our number to 136,400 registered Republicans, while Democrats are down to 68,976.
We think this is because Alaskans are committed to greater personal responsibility and less government regulation. We've seen the damage done by federal overreach.
But what if you're not a Republican? A lot of Alaskans are in the undeclared or independent category. Well, at most of our voting locations on March 1, we'll have a voter registrar on site, and you can change your registration on the spot, and then vote in the Presidential Preference Poll.
Our party officers have heard from dozens of Alaskans who do plan to change from their nonaligned registration because they feel strongly about one of our candidates.
I want to end by thanking the hundreds of Alaska Republican volunteers who have taken the time to make the Presidential Preference Poll happen over the last two presidential cycles. In 2012, volunteers helped 14,000 Alaskans make sure their votes were counted. We think that in 2016 that number will grow.
We welcome you to take part in choosing the next president. As President Lincoln once said, "Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters." Don't sit on your blisters -- get out and vote.
Frank McQueary is the vice chairman of the Alaska Republican Party and an Anchorage businessman.
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