Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:35 PM on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Voters must choose which ballot they want in primary

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

With the Aug. 28 primary election quickly approaching, voters have multiple ways to know the candidates and understand ballot measures.

Debates, open houses, radio interviews and call-in programs, as well as newspaper coverage (see related stories, pages 10-14) are meant to inform voters before they step inside the voting booth.

This weekend's Kenai Peninsula State Fair also provides an opportunity to meet the candidates face-to-face.

Absentee voting began Monday at Homer City Hall and continues through Aug. 27, said Jo Johnson, city clerk. Hours are 8 a.m.-5p.m.

The primary election includes three ballot choices:

• Alaska Republican Party candidates and the two ballot measures; only voters registered as Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared may vote this ballot;

• Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party candidates with the ballot measures; any registered voter may vote this ballot;

• Ballot measures only; any registered voter may vote this ballot.

This is the first election since new district boundaries were drawn. The southern Kenai Peninsula was formerly part of Senate District Q, which included Kodiak, and House District 35, which included Seward. The new Senate District O combines the southern and central peninsula, including Homer, Kenai and Soldotna. Now in House District O, Homer is included with Seldovia, Anchor Point, Ninilchik and Kasilof. Neither Kodiak nor Seward are in Senate or House districts that include Homer.

"It's gone back to where it should have been and makes much more sense," Eileen Becker of Homer, Alaska Republican Party treasurer for District 30, said of the new boundaries.

Uncertain of the impact redistricting will have on this year's election, Kate Finn of Homer, district vice chair for the Alaska Democratic Party, stressed the importance of the primary even for races with a single candidate.

"It's a very, very important election, even on an unopposed ticket," said Finn, of voters' making their candidate preference known.

On this year's Republican ballot, three candidates are running for the U.S. House of Representatives incumbent Don Young, John R. Cox and Terre L. Gales. The race for Senate District O includes Tomas H. "Tom" Wagoner and Peter A. Micciche. In House district 30, candidates include Paul Seaton and Jon D. Faulkner.

"I think nationwide people are wanting choices," said Becker of having more than incumbents on the ballot. "They're starting to wake up and see there are other ways of doing things. They can make a difference. People are tired of complaining and are gearing up more, not just locally, but nationwide, to put more action out there."

The Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party ballot includes six candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives Frank J. Vondersaar, Democrat; Debra Chestnut, Democrat; Sharon M. Cissna, Democrat; Jim C. McDermott, Libertarian; Matt Moore, Democrat; and Doug Urquidi, Democrat. In House District O, there is one candidate, Elizabeth R. Diament of Fritz Creek.

Finn credited increased involvement by younger voters for Diament's candidacy.

"I think that with the Occupy Movement, young people have stepped up, but are stepping up outside the box. (Diament) is willing to step up inside the box and work from within," said Finn.

Becker used a personal example to encourage participation in voting: her son, whose deployments in the U.S. Air Force include Iraq and South Korea.

"He serves with the idea of putting his life on the line so people have the freedom to vote," said Becker. "If that doesn't touch hearts, I don't know what does. "

Finn also urged voter involvement.

"This is a democracy run by those who participate and only by those who participate, so by opting out of elections we are abdicating our privilege to live in a democratic republic into which we should have great influence."

Borough and city races — including the borough assembly, school board, service area boards, city mayor and city council — are part of the general election to be held Nov. 6.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.