To say that the special election to fill Alaska’s U.S. House seat is all over the place is an understatement.
The election started April 27 with ballots being mailed out to eligible Alaska voters.
The ballots began arriving before voters had any real opportunity to get to know the candidates — if it is possible to get to know 48 candidates in a matter of about six weeks. Of course, a few names — very few — have statewide or even national familiarity.
The reaction to the ballot for the single race has varied from throwing it in the trash out of frustration, to setting it aside until maybe a few of the candidates might show up to be introduced to the community. So far, with three weeks until the June 11 deadline for ballots to be postmarked, there have been next to no special election candidate sightings in Ketchikan. One or two candidates met with party faithfuls, but nothing for the entire First City.
Some of those set-aside ballots will be filled out and others will be marked and mailed, and hopefully delivered before June 21 final ballot count.
That is when the election will be over.
Or so they say.
The time crunch for candidates and voters is unfortunate. But that is the procedure.
And the number of candidates? Well, that’s allowed in a primary election within a democratic form of government.
Alaska’s choice of a mail election? The other option of precinct voting remains a viable alternative.
Lots of things are changing with new technological possibilities. But everything doesn’t need to change nor should it.
Precinct voting is a patriotic, time-tested tradition valued and understood by voters. Let’s opt for in-person, precinct elections moving forward.