News-Miner opinion: Think back to Nov. 6, 2018. That was the day almost three years ago when voters cast ballots for either Kathryn Dodge or Bart LeBon in the race for state House District 1.
While LeBon carried an early lead, Dodge caught up after absentee and mail-in votes were tabulated. Then, the somewhat unusual happened. The candidates tied with 2,661 votes each. Recounts and an audit ensued with tallies ending up at 2,263 votes for LeBon and 2,262 for Dodge. Ultimately, it came down to one questioned ballot and a lawsuit that made its way to the Alaska Supreme Court. The court ruled in LeBon’s favor in January 2019, declaring him the winner — by a one-vote margin.
If you think your vote does not matter, let the Dodge-LeBon race of 2018 be an inspirational tale to get you to the polls today.
It’s no secret that municipal elections have notoriously low turnouts. In the 2020 city of Fairbanks election, out of 22,403 registered voters, only 3,973 cast a ballot — just 17.73%. The borough did slightly better in 2020. Out of 76,586 registered voters, 17,172 voted. Still, that’s only 22.4%. Considering the number of registered voters, those results are nothing to brag about.
We’re hoping for better turnout today when borough and city residents head to their polling places, casting ballots for borough mayor, school board, Borough Assembly, North Pole mayor and city council, Fairbanks City Council and the Interior Gas Utility board of directors.
Those candidates will become the next local leaders who will put policies into place which will effect our everyday lives here in Fairbanks, North Pole and the borough. All of those races are exactly what we should be paying attention to and watching. Hopefully, you’ve done just that — kept up with the candidates, watched the public forums in which they have participated, and consumed the candidate profiles we’ve been featuring in the Daily News-Miner. If you haven’t, you can catch up on all the candidates at www.newsminer.com.
Polling stations are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Don’t know your polling place? You can look it up online at www.fnsb.gov. If you’re not online or computer savvy or prefer to engage with a live human being, call us in the newsroom at 907-459-7572. We’ll be happy to help you find your polling spot.
Local elections matter. They impact all of us. If you want a say, today is the day to be heard by casting your vote. See you at the polls.