Opinion: local elections are important so please vote

The short version of today’s article is this: our local election this week will determine four important things –

  • our sales tax rate,
  • whether use of the lowest qualified bidder* is always required in CBJ contracts,
  • 1/3 of our Assembly, and
  • 2/7ths of our School Board.

So if you are a registered voter, you should vote. Today, you can vote early absentee at City Hall or in the Mendenhall Mall Annex and tomorrow you can vote at your regular precinct. Here are the details of voting locations: Absentee Voting (today), Regular Voting (Tuesday). You can call the City Clerk at 586-5278 if you have questions.

For a slightly longer version, read on.

Local government does a lot for us:

  • Funding for fire departments comes from local government.
  • Opportunities to experience public art, participate in sports, and go to libraries are decided by the people chosen in local elections.
  • Kids in public, charter, or private schools are affected by local elections.
  • Property tax assessments, zoning laws, easements, and release of borough-owned lands for private use are all determined in part or completely by locally elected officials.

Local government only functions well when we participate.

You have probably read many articles about elections decided by just a few votes. In fact, here are 1, 2, 3 of them.

Given that local election turnout here in Juneau hasn’t topped 50% since at least 1995, and only one out of every three eligible voters participated in last year’s local ballot, your vote is especially important.

Not sure what you think about the propositions on the ballot? CBJ has a nice explainer.

Not sure who you want to vote for? Here’s a recording of a candidate forum sponsored by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. And here are the official profiles they provided to the City and Borough when they registered to run.

So please head out and vote.

– Mary

* I apologize, but I experienced a major brain outage when I was typing this up. I said that it would decide whether “competitive bidding” would be required, but what I meant was whether lowest qualified bidder would be required. That’s a big difference, and I apologize for the error. – Mary

The views in this opinion piece are those of the author. They are not official positions of TongassDemocrats.com or the Tongass Democrats.

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