What southern Kenai Peninsula voters can expect on this election's ballot
Therese Lewandowski is with Kenai Peninsula Votes, a non-partisan voter education group based in Homer. She sat down with KBBI’s Desiree Hagen to talk about what Peninsula voters can expect on the ballot.
The last day to vote is tomorrow, Nov. 8. Polls all over the state will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Employers are required by law to give employees time off to vote.
For more information on the candidates, check out a tool to compare the candidates created by KTOO, Alaska Public Media, the Anchorage Daily News and the Alaska Beacon.
DESIREE HAGEN: What does Kenai Peninsula Votes hope for in this election?
THERESE LEWANDOWSKI: So voter turnout is really what we want to see increase. This isn't a presidential election year. So historically, the turnout won't be that high, but we're hoping for over 50% of voters to vote. But it could be higher because we have some interesting races. We have the ballot proposition, and we're using rank choice voting.
HAGEN: Okay, so tell me about this election. What's on the ballot
LEWANDOWSKI: So the ballots for the southern Kenai Peninsula and Seward are almost identical, and the only differences for the house seats in Juneau, Seward, Cordova and Kodiak are together in their House District 5. In District 5 the representatives are Vincent Benjamin and Louis Stutes.
HAGEN: And for Homer?
LEWANDOWSKI: Homer is House District 6, which includes Kachemak Bay, Ninilchik and Kasilof. And in Homer, it's Ginger Bryant, Sarah Vance and Louie Flora. You can write into I'm not sure if there's a state certified list for the House districts, but there is for US senate and US rep. Certified write-in candidates that the state certifies and you can find that on their website.
HAGEN: So this election is different than previous years because of rank choice voting?
LEWANDOWSKI: So this is our second election that we'll be using rank choice voting, voters will rank all races. Governor, Lieutenant Governor, US senator, US rep. And our state senator and representatives. For a candidate to win using rank choice voting and winner must have 50% plus one. So any of the races that don't meet that bid benchmark after the first night, we will have to wait until November 23, when all the ballots have finally been counted.
HAGEN: Okay, besides the governor, US House and Senate and State House and Senate, what else is on the ballot?
LEWANDOWSKI: On the flip side of the ballot will be the proposition–that's yes or no. And retention of our judges, and that's all yes and no. I really encourage people to read the election pamphlet about the judges and the selection of our judges and the whole judicial process.
HAGEN: What are the ballot measures?
LEWANDOWSKI: There's just one ballot measure and that's whether to have a constitutional convention or not. Kenai Peninsula votes recommends that you please be prepared before you vote. There shouldn't be any surprises when you get in the ballot box and you look at that ballot. You can download a sample ballot at the Alaska Division of Elections website. You can fill it out ahead of time. You can take it with you into the poll. You can take the election pamphlet with you into the polls. You could go online and vote for your favorite one.
So anyway, do your homework. There's also a lot of information on websites elections.alaska.gov. You can look at candidates. You can look at sample ballots. And there's been a lot of debates on the radio and on TV, local forums sponsored by various groups. And there are multiple voter guides out there. Anchorage Daily News has one Alaska Public Media, the state website, the League of Women Voters and also vote411.org If you have any questions, such as where you should go vote, and rank choice voting, contact the division of elections at (907) 465-4611 or email them or just look at their website or contact us Kenai Peninsula firstname.lastname@example.org. So remember, your voice counts and all votes matter.