Story last updated at 3:33 p.m. Thursday, October 31, 2002

Getting the government we deserve
The last in a series of three elections in less than three months is finally upon us. Polls will open Tuesday morning to allow voters to cast their ballots for governor, state legislators and the state's congressional delegation.

Poor voter turnout has become something of a clichE in recent elections. Although the Homer area generally posts numbers above the statewide average, our turnouts have been nothing to brag about either.

It is easy to point the finger and decry voter apathy. Politicians are among the quickest to do so. But no such criticism should be leveled without a serious consideration of the root of that apathy, much of which could easily be laid at the feet of elected officials who ignore popular mandates.

Supporters of campaign finance reform tout the program as a means of "cleaning up" the process and making elected officials more accountable to voters than to their corporate sponsors, whose interests often have little to do with the proper conduct of the people's business.

Sadly, nearly as quickly as "reform" measures are enacted, they end up gutted by politicians more interested in getting re-elected than in doing the right thing for their constituents. The Republican-controlled state Legislature did just that with a voter-mandated reform initiative in the mid-'90s. More recently, with national trends clearly favoring new, stricter reform measures, the Legislature overrode a Gov. Knowles veto of a bill that OK'd so-called soft money contributions up to $5,000 -- just in time for the campaign season.

The gubernatorial campaign coming to a close has presented a case study in the evils of soft money, with attack ads taking liberties with the truth being aired by both sides. It is no wonder that voters tire of the shenanigans.

Nonetheless, the voting booth remains the single greatest tool in ensuring good government. And it is incumbent on all voters to remain ever vigilant in the aftermath of the election, so that those we entrust to take care of our business are held accountable.

Like any election, Tuesday's is important. But the closeness of the race for governor renders each individual vote that much more weighty. The state is faced with some serious issues. How those issues are dealt with is likely to shape the state and affect its residents for years to come. Area polling places are listed elsewhere on this page. Get out and vote on Tuesday.

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