Area residents are casting their votes for state and national leadership. A possible change to state law is also on the table in the form of Ballot Measure 1.
Bristol Bay is turning out for the general election on a cold, drizzly Tuesday. KDLG's Isabelle Ross has more.
Area residents will vote for a Alaska State House District 37 representative. They are choosing between incumbent Democrat, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, and Republican candidate William Weatherby.
Voters are also deciding on Alaska’s next governor and the state’s U.S. congressional representative. In the gubernatorial race, Mike Dunleavy is running as a Republican, Mark Begich is running as a Democrat and Billy Toien is running as a Libertarian.
In the congressional race, Independent candidate Alyse Galvin is running on the Democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Representative Don Young.
Voters will also decide whether Ballot Measure 1 will become state law. The controversial initiative aims to beef up salmon habitat protections around the state.
Dillingham’s polling place at City Hall is seeing a steady stream of voters. KDLG talked to a couple of them this morning.
“Voting’s important,” said Brenda Akelkok. “I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that the governor’s race is going to be especially close. It appeared to me there’s a real high turnout, and I hope we get a lot more people in the rural areas, especially if you care about education, keeping small, rural schools open and that we don’t go back to the days where children are separated from their families in order to get an education, so I hope people there and vote. I voted for Mark Begich. I voted for Bryce Edgmon. I did not vote to retain the one judge that was involved with the pleading down of an assault of an Alaska Native woman in Anchorage.
Akelkok added that she supports Ballot Measure 1.
Debra Flaherty was also at the Dillingham polls Tuesday morning.
“I’m out here to vote for the new governor,” she told KDLG. “It matters because our state has been in a turmoil with the opioid crisis as well as having the crime up here be so high. And I am wanting to put my vote in because it’s very important to I and my grandchildren coming up. I picked Dunleavy because he has been part of the government where he’s talked about it, and he’s been open with the public, and I liked what he said. Get out and vote, and enjoy the beautiful day.”
Dillingham High School senior, Zachary Tilden, voted for the first time today.
“At first I wasn’t so motivated to go vote. I wasn’t going to go vote at all. But everybody kept talking to me, telling me to go vote. I got tired of hearing everybody say ‘go vote, go vote, go vote, go vote,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, fine, I’ll go vote.’ And I just went out today, Nov. 6, and went to go vote.”
Tilden did not share who he voted for, but he did say that some particular issues weighed heavily in his decision.
“What all goes around in this environment, and we still need our PFDs and probably still need a little more cops to get rid of all the drugs here.”
When asked if he had a message for other Bristol Bay teenagers, Tilden’s answer was simple: “Go vote.”
KDLG will air live, special coverage of statewide election results tonight on 670 AM. The show begins at 9 p.m.