By Michael Spence
June 29, 2012
The recent 7 percent voter turnout for the bond election in Ketchikan illustrates the problem of the restrictive voting process in Alaska. Other states, for example Washington, send postal ballots to all registered voters. By receiving a ballot in the mail, a registered voter is able to cast his/her vote without jeopardizing job and or travel obligations. Alaska in particular has a large proportion of registered voters who work away from town (fishing, transportation industry, etc). Absentee ballots are not the answer either, (as is evidenced by this recent turnout), because they are often sent out late by the state/borough, and are hence received late by the election authorities.
Could this restrictive practice be a reflection of the Conservative Republican leadership of Alaska, which on a national level advocates more restrictions in voting access? The current situation in Florida may be an example. Conservatives there WANT voter access to be restrictive.
We have all heard the arguments in favor of restricting voter access: The possibility of fraud, and the odds of undocumented/unregistered voters casting improper votes. In my opinion these arguments are invalid considering that the vast majority of legal correspondence, financial instruments, and other official mail go by the postal service, and fraud is extremely rare and punishable by law.
Voting is a fundamental right in any democracy. It will never be a truly democratic process for the majority of Alaskans as long as it is so limited and restrictive.
About: "registered Alaska voter "
Received June 29, 2012 - Published June 29, 2012
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