Voting goes smoothly in Bethel

by Mark Arehart on November 6, 2012

Today is the general election. People from across the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta are casting their votes not only for the president, but for local legislators and issues, too. And many voters exiting the poles say the process is going smoothly.

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People are lining up along rectangular tables, signing their names and taking heavy papered ballots into little red, white and blue booths.

When they’re done, they hand the ballots over to a worker who feeds them into a machine.

For the most part, people say it’s no sweat. “Simple, fast… easy,” said Dorothy Chase after she finished voting at the Longhouse Hotel in Bethel.

Across town at the Cultural Center, Bethel’s other polling station, Jeffery and Jilda Murchison said the same thing. “Very easy,” Jeffery said.

Jilda Murchison said there was one hiccup though, the machine that counts the votes had stopped working. She said it didn’t stop her from casting her vote though. “I guess they’re working on that so hopefully it will be fixed soon,” she said.

Until it’s fixed workers are collecting all the ballots and organizing them. If they can’t fix the machine, they’ll just use the machine at the Longhouse at night’s end.

For the Murchisons, this day is very important.
“It means everything. You’re participating in the choices that lead the country. It’s a very exciting time. I can’t wait to get home and watch the election results,” Jeffery said.

Jilda echoed that sentiment. “Well I think it’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility of every citizen of this country and that we all have a say and we should take advantage of that. Because not already in the world has that opportunity and I hope that everybody that can will get out and do the same,” she said.

Voters in the YK Delta are not just choosing the president, they are voting on Alaska’s lone seat in the US House of Representatives, which is likely to come down to either Democrat Sharon Cissna or Republican Don Young, who’s running for his 21st consecutive term.

Votes are also being cast for a statewide transportation bond package and State Senate and House Seats. But current legislators Lyman Hoffman and Bob Herron are running unopposed.

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