A group of Ketchikanites is spearheading an effort to increase voter turnout in 2018. Rachel Breithaupt is one of the organizers. She says they will have voter registration packets available at the Women’s March on Saturday for anyone who wants to help them.
“And then on January 21st, we’re going to take voter registration packets and little magnets that have reminders of the 2018 election dates, and we’re just going to walk our neighborhoods. Non-partisan. No mention of a single issue. Simply, ‘Are you registered? Would you like to be? If you are registered, I’d love to give you this magnet for your refrigerator so you don’t forget when the next election is.”
Voter turnout for the 2017 municipal election was 21 percent borough-wide.
Breithaupt understands many people are registered and choose not to vote. She says that sometimes it is due to apathy, but sometimes people just forget. That’s why they are distributing the reminder magnets.
“We wanted something other than a flyer. We wanted something that would hopefully be what you looked at enough times that it would stick in your mind to prepare for it.”
She says another part of their plan is getting people to the polls on Election Day. Breithaupt says she and others plan to offer free rides for voters. She says she’ll approach the borough about offering free bus rides that day, and also hopes to partner with agencies.
“…the senior van, we could partner with them. We could partner with SAIL to get people who don’t have licenses or are unable to drive. Maybe they’re even unable to navigate the city bus. Maybe they live too far away. Maybe they literally can’t get down to a bus stop. But just access to the polls. There’s no use in polls if you can’t get there.”
She says another goal is to try to bring the community together, given the divisive political and social climate.
“The idea that we could as a community, locally, come together, Maybe not necessarily in agreement on issues, but in agreement on the issue of participation. Maybe we don’t need a perfect system, but if we could get close to perfect ‘participation’, that would be something.”
Breithaupt is hoping others will pick up registration packets at Saturday’s Women’s March and help in the effort. The march begins at 11 a.m. at Berth 2.
You can also register to vote online through the State Division of Elections, and you can sign up when you apply for your Permanent Fund Dividend. Links are posted below.
Voter Registration – https://voterregistration.alaska.gov/
Ketchikan Gateway Borough election information (with links to electronic voting and absentee voting) – http://ak-ketchikangatewayborough.civicplus.com/172/Elections
City of Ketchikan election information (with links to electronic and absentee voting) – https://www.ktn-ak.us/electionsvoting
State Division of Elections – http://www.elections.alaska.gov/
Electronic Voting – Ketchikan Gateway Borough – http://ak-ketchikangatewayborough.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/239
Absentee By Mail Request – Ketchikan Gateway Borough – http://ak-ketchikangatewayborough.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/236
Electronic Voting – City of Ketchikan – https://evogov.s3.amazonaws.com/media/16/media/38485.pdf
Absentee By Mail Request – City of Ketchikan – https://evogov.s3.amazonaws.com/media/16/media/38484.pdf