Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetChange Anchorage's election day

Change Anchorage’s election day


Unofficial returns show Mat-Su Borough voters narrowly passing a measure that would move local elections to November to simplify their election process and boost turnout.

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Anchorage, with its anemic voter turnouts, should be so lucky. Its April elections serve the interests of only special interests that thrive on suppressed election turnouts, interests such as labor unions and the political left.

In April’s election, only 36 percent of the Anchorage’s 218,000 registered voters bothered to cast ballots, despite the city’s ballyhooed, new-fangled vote-by-mail system. That means slightly more than 3 in 10 registered voters elected a mayor and school board members, passed millions of dollars in bonds and changed the city charter so that the Municipal Light & Power utility could be sold.

When you consider Anchorage’s total population of about 300,000, the 79,000 or so who voted in April represent only about 26 percent of the city. That is abysmal.

Anchorage adopted April elections in the early 1990s, after a campaign by former Assemblyman Jim Kubitz to switch the date from October. Candidates, the argument went, could not get exposure or financial backing with the city election so close to the November state and federal elections.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Whether I vote or not in November – or April – depends on whether I feel like
    walking in freezing cold , most likely on snow-blocked or icy sidewalks.
    Since I’m in Alaska and not a Republican, why bother?

  2. Anything that loosens the public unions advantages in local elections is OK by me.
    Please note that is said PUBLIC UNIONS. Private sector unions are not the problem as they recognize that both they and their employers rise and fall together. No so with public unions at the trough.

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