Earlier this week, a caller to the Daily News office said that she’d received the mail-in ballot for the special primary election for Alaska’s congressional seat.
But, she wanted to know, where was the voter-information pamphlet with descriptions of the candidates?
The ballot lists 48 names, along with party affiliations. As a non-internet individual, she was hoping that a state voter pamphlet would be available to provide at least some further information to help her choose which candidate would receive her vote.
And voting is a right and responsibility that the caller, like many others, takes very seriously. During the conversation, we were able to verify that there isn’t a state voter pamphlet for this special primary election, either in paper or electronic forms.
To which the caller’s question was; “Why?”
For that we did not have an answer — but promised to ask that question of the Alaska Division of Elections.
With that, our conversation with a wonderful individual came to an end. And on Wednesday, we talked with Alaska Division of Elections Public Relations Manager Tiffany Montemayor.
She graciously explained that the division traditionally makes official election pamphlets for general elections. The process takes months, and the division already has started work on the pamphlet for the Nov. 8 general election.
There was not enough time for the Division of Elections to make and distribute a pamphlet for this special primary election, Montemayor said.
For this special primary election, information about the candidates would have to come from other sources.
Over the years, we here at the Daily News have greatly appreciated the local candidates who’ve been diligent in participating in our candidate Q & A forums — and understand the difficulty in providing information and question responses for every candidate on even a local municipal ballot.
We can imagine the difficulties that the Division of Elections would have in wrangling information from 48 candidates and getting a pamphlet published in the available amount of time.
We appreciate the efforts of the Anchorage Daily News, which sent a Q & A inquiry to all 48 candidates regarding qualifications, why they’re running and their top priority if elected. A total of 33 candidates responded (the results are on the Anchorage Daily News website at www.adn.com).
However, this doesn’t help the caller, or many of the other voters seeking to cast an informed ballot in the special election.
Neither does the fact that few of the 48 candidates have the resources to reach out to voters statewide.
So, in the answering of one question, it’s clear that a solution isn’t likely for voters in this special primary election. Time to plan ahead to avoid a similar circumstance in the future.