Sep 20, 2018

How do you vote when you're confused?


Election season is big in Alaska this year, in part because of a controversial ballot measure set to be voted on this November. Proponents of ballot measure 1 argue that passing the measure will mean better protections for salmon habitat and the salmon economy by way of adding screenings on development projects before they start in the state. Critics argue that ballot 1 will harm development in the state and cause the state to lose revenue.


Pit as a two-sided issue, the major campaign organizations -- Stand for Salmon, pro-ballot 1 and Stand for Alaska, anti-ballot 1 -- are fighting hard on this issue. Even before I decided to work for the Stand for Salmon campaign, I saw the work around ballot 1 as confusing and incomprehensible. There's a lot of conflicting information being spurted on the ballot measure and I find myself having to explain the policy the ballot measure is proposing multiple times a week to Alaska voters (and I still sometimes do, even though I've moved out of Alaska)! Because of all of the information, voting on ballot measure 1 really does seem like a 2-sided issue, and not what it really is: a nuanced policy proposal to a problem facing the state of Alaska.


The problem I'm pointing out in this post isn't about salmon or development (although both issues are worth exploring in another blog post), but rather how politics are talked about in this day and age. As a voter, it is very easy to get confused by information floating around and not know how to decide because of the confusion we experience. Because of this, deciding how to vote is challenging, and can sometimes make people not want to vote or participate in politics at all.


What do you think -- how have you experienced politics in the past? How do you decide the vote?

Oct 3, 2018

I think many voters across America are confused over politics - unless you are constantly reading the local papers, it's certainly hard to keep track! Questions on the ballots can often seem really obscure, and my best guess is many voters do not do adequate research before heading to the booths - a problem with the structural system, not the constituents.

Felicity Wong
Jan 30

I think I agree with David -- it is certainly our job as the electorate to inform ourselves before we go out and vote, but oftentimes, resources aren't readily made available for those who do want to educate themselves. Many voters also currently don't have an incentive or aren't aware of the consequences of their vote.


What do you think the government / institutions can do in order to fix this problem?

New Posts
  • tasha.elizarde
    Oct 24, 2018

    The gubernatorial race in Alaska is heating up. This November 6th, we will be deciding who will be our next Governor and Lt. Governor for the next term. Up until last week Wednesday, our race was a fight between three candidates: incumbent Governor Walker (I), former Alaska Senator Dunleavy (R), and former US Senator Begich. Governor Walker and former US Senator Begich had a near split vote, many people torn over who they should vote for. Governor Walker dropped the race though, leaving Walker supporters open to voting for Begich or Dunleavy. Not all voters will be able to vote in the different election, though. On the day Walker left the race, there were already about 1,000 absentee ballots received by the Division of Elections. That means that at least 1,000 people voted in an election thinking it would be a three-way race, not the two-way race it is now. Ultimately though, these votes can't be changed in this situation. What do you think — in the situation that a huge change in an election occurs, should we provide early voters with the opportunity to vote for someone else?
  • Felicity Wong
    Oct 17, 2018

    November is coming up, which means that the 2018 midterms for Congress (House and Senate) are nearing. Will the Democrats or Republicans take back/stay in control of the House? The Senate? Both? Why do you think so? What will be the impacts of the results? Here's an infographic/analysis created by Politico that is worth checking out if you're trying to follow the different blue and red candidates in the 2018 midterm elections across all 50 states: https://www.politico.com/election-results/2018/house-senate-race-ratings-and-predictions/
  • tasha.elizarde
    Oct 14, 2018

    The US isn't the first country you might think of when you think of the arctic, but thanks to Alaska, the US is a major stakeholder in Arctic issues. In fact, the USA is a permanent participant in the Arctic Council, the intergovernmental organization that coordinates action between arctic nations. What happens when we don't think of the US as part of the arctic? Most of the country is not in the arctic -- only the northernmost part of Alaska is inside the arctic circle -- but the implications of not considering the arctic in our governmental and corporate decisions are many. After all, problems that impact the arctic do not stay in the arctic, nor are they only applicable to the arctic. The hot ticket issue impacting the arctic is climate change, and the changing biodiversity in the arctic also impacts the biodiversity of everywhere else in the world too. The problems impacting the indigenous community are also uplifted in arctic forums, given that indigenous peoples are greatly intertwined with arctic issues. Decisions made at any level ultimately will impact the arctic in some way, so it is important that public officials understand how the arctic works in order to make effective decisions about it. Thoughts? Questions? Comments about the arctic?