Today is Election Day, and Alaskans will be deciding some of the closest — and most closely watched — races in the country. Polls show the campaigns for both Senator and Governor are neck-and-neck. And Alaska could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
We’ve pulled together some of our coverage of the candidates and issues, along with some general info that might come in handy as you head to the polls.
Where do I vote?
Both Sitka precincts vote at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Voters registered elsewhere in Alaska can cast ballots at the Sitka Airport. To find voting locations outside Sitka, visit the Division of Elections polling place locator.
Polls across the state will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
What’s on the ballot?
Alaskans will be voting for Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senator and Representative, and state legislators.
There are also three ballot measures: Ballot Measure 2 would legalize marijuana use for adults over age 21. Ballot Measure 3 would raise the minimum wage. And Ballot Measure 4 would require legislative approval of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Preserve, including the Pebble Mine. You can read all three ballot measures here.
You can find a sample ballot here for House District 35, which includes Sitka, Petersburg, and most of central Southeast.
You can find other sample ballots and plenty more information at the Division of Elections website.
At the top of the ballot is the race for U.S. Senate, and it’s a nail-biter. Incumbent Democrat Mark Begich is fighting a challenge from Republican former Attorney General Dan Sullivan. The race will have repercussions well outside the state: Republicans have to pick up a total of six seats to take control of the Senate — and Alaska is one of the handful of races that could tip the balance.
Past KCAW coverage: On the issues: Begich vs. Sullivan in Sitka
Besides the major-party picks, there are two other candidates running for Senate: Libertarian Mark Fish and Independent Ted Gianoutsos.
Twenty-one-term Republican Congressman Don Young — the longest serving Republican in the House of Representatives — faces a 30-year-old political newcomer, Forrest Dunbar, in the race for Alaska’s sole seat in the U.S. House.
Past KCAW coverage: Democrat Dunbar hopes to challenge Young
Also running is Jim McDermott, a professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and a Libertarian.
Governor & Lt. Governor
Polls show Republican incumbent Sean Parnell in a dead heat with Independent Bill Walker, and for the first time in Alaska history, there is no Democrat on the ballot. Democratic candidate Byron Mallott gave up his bid for governor and joined Walker’s ticket as the candidate for Lt. Governor, in an effort to unseat Parnell.
Parnell’s running mate is Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (not to be confused with candidate for U.S. Senate Dan Sullivan).
Also running are Libertarian Care Clift and J.R. Myers of the Alaska Constitution Party.
Past KCAW coverage: Gubernatorial tickets lay out differences in Sitka
Alaska State House District 35
House District 35 was newly redrawn this election, bringing together Sitka and Petersburg, along with most of central Southeast. Incumbent Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins faces a challenge from Petersburg Republican Steven Samuelson.
Past KCAW coverage: HD35 Candidates debate in Sitka
Sitka Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum (full audio)
KFSK Candidate Forum (full audio)
Alaska voters will be asked whether to retain judges for district, Superior and State Supreme Court. In Alaska, judges are nominated by the nonpartisan Alaska Judicial Council and appointed by the Governor, but are periodically subject to retention votes by the public.
The Alaska Judicial Council offers recommendations on judicial retentions. You can find the 2014 recommendations here.
How do I hear election results?
KCAW will air special election coverage from NPR starting at 4 p.m. At 9 p.m. we’ll join APRN for live coverage of statewide elections. And Raven News will provide updates on local results throughout the evening. Tune in!