Sometimes the battle for election integrity is very general, like supporting voter ID requirements before you cast a ballot. And sometimes it is very specific. This Saturday, it is very specific.
The single greatest thing you can do for election integrity right now is not to hold a rally or wave signs, or call the governor’s office. The single greatest thing you can do is take two hours and show up at the Alaska district conventions taking place this Saturday, and help others to show up. There I’ve said it.
Now the plain and simple truth is that the future of election integrity in Alaska is in doubt because it is always easier not to do something than to do it. It’s always easier not to show up than it is to show up. It is always easier not to call than to call. It is always easier to complain about what’s wrong with our election system than it is to do something about it.
If history is any indication, only a small number of people will show up this Saturday.
If election integrity is important to you, you should be among them. Here are some details.
So now you have some details. But what do they mean, and why should you care? And what is a district convention anyway?
Let’s take these questions one at a time.
First, what do these details mean?
It means that Republicans in the Mat-Su will be holding elections this Saturday, particularly those Republicans who live in the newly created District 27 and District 28.
If you are an Alaskan voter and would like to know which newly created district you fall into, visit this page.
If you are in District 25 or 26 your time at bat was last Saturday.
If you are in District 27 or 28, you are next up to bat.
If you live anywhere else in Alaska, your elections will take place over the next month. For the when and where visit this page.
Second, why is showing up on Saturday better than sending an email to the governor, or any other politician, asking them to support election integrity?
Asking politicians to support election integrity is fine. Doing something about it yourself is better.
You can do more by moving your local Republican Party District Committee in the direction of election integrity than a dozen phone calls to the governor’s office.
The Division of Elections recognizes that political parties have a stake in ensuring the integrity of our elections. The courts recognize that they have a legal stake in the outcome of those elections. Political parties can file complaints with the Division of Elections. They can file lawsuits, if it comes to that. Political parties can appoint poll watchers to monitor the counting of ballots.
In short, you can be the most dedicated and conscientious voter in the state, but in most cases you won’t be able to serve as a poll watcher unless you are officially deputized by a candidate or a political party.
My local Republican District Committee has taken a strong stand in favor of election integrity, and have been part of encouraging Republican legislators and every other part of the Republican Party to do the same. Most other parts of the state have been slow to follow. On Saturday, you can change that.
And what is a district convention anyway?
After every census, the Republican Party is recreated based on the new political boundaries. Every registered Republican voter is invited to have a voice in what that local district party will support, and who will lead it. Every Republican leadership position is up for election. If you are willing, you can hold one of those positions. If you aren’t willing, you can help by recruiting another Republican voter to hold that position.
This process of electing new Republican leaders and deciding which issues will be a priority, happens every two years. Turnout in these elections is always around 1% or less. People don’t show up.
With such a low turnout, the few that do turn up usually do so because they have a direct stake in the outcome of an election (i.e., an elected official, someone who works for an elected official, or one of their family members).
Why isn’t election integrity a higher priority in the Republican party?
While a book could be written in answer to this question, it often comes down to two reasons:
1) When Republicans are in office (as they are in this state) the Republican Party doesn’t want to embarrass them by pointing out problems with how elections are run, and
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
2) The one group of people who have the least to gain personally by investigating or making changes to our election process are the very people who were elected using that process. If you were elected under the current system, there is a natural bias for you to want to cause as few changes to that system as possible. If everything goes exactly the same this election as it did the last time, your re-election is guaranteed. Despite their best intentions, politicians really don’t want to change the status quo if it could lessen their chance of winning re-election.
Please come this Saturday, and only vote for those who are truly dedicated to election integrity. The sad truth is that most people in politics have other priorities (staying elected, keeping their job, supporting their favorite candidate, etc.). And when you come, be patient. If those committed to preserving the status quo get the impression that all they need to do is drag out the meeting until the two-hour mark and then vote after you go home … many people will do exactly that. Let everyone present know that you are willing to stay until Doom’s Day if that’s what it takes in order to cast your vote. If there is no incentive to drag out the meeting, you may find that the meeting only takes an hour.
If you aren’t in District 27 or 28, consider coming this Saturday anyway. You may have to pay $20 to observe, but you’ll probably learn something that will help you prepare for your own at bat later this month.
If you are a Republican, you will be able to observe. If you aren’t, your chances of getting in the door are not good. But, you can always change your registration to Republican in order to observe your local Republican committee in action. However, if you want to vote to elect Republican leadership and participate directly in the convention, you will need to have been registered as a Republican for at least 90 days.
Come this Saturday. Bring a friend. Bring lots of friends. Let’s take a stand for election integrity. Your next convention won’t be until 2024.
— Click here to find out when and where your local Republican district convention takes place.
The views expressed here are those of the author.