My absentee ballot arrived yesterday. Each time I vote, I am surprised to see the actual ballot. After the campaigns, the debates, the rhetoric, the money, the arguments made for and against, it is this simple document with a few small blank boxes that will determine the future of our state and our country. The simplicity always strikes me – this powerful tool that each citizens wields in such a deceptively simple way.
This year, for various reasons, I chose to vote absentee. Usually, I prefer to exercise my right to vote by joining my fellow citizens at the polls. Whether national or local, the act of voting has been part of my life. I was raised to believe that, other than public service, voting is the single most powerful act I can do to ensure our democracy survives.
I have voted in most elections since 1974 and believe that voting in Alaska is unique. Many of the issues we have here are not found in any other state. In 1982, the campaign to move the capital failed, but it turned out over 70% of the eligible voters in the state, setting a national record. Because of our small population we often know the candidates personally and understand that our vote really does count. Many elections have been lost because of a handful of votes.
If you have already voted via absentee, good for you. If you plan to go to polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, don’t let anything stop you from voting or you will regret it. And don’t forget to vote the entire ballot, because every single check you make in that little box counts. Perhaps it counts more this year than ever. Voting is the right and responsibility of each one of us. Let’s respect it.
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