Jenkins: Anchorage’s first-ever vote-by-mail balloting. I worry too much.

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By Paul Jenkins |

Anchorage is poised to embark on a grand experiment — voting by mail. Ballots will be sent out. Ballots will be returned. What possibly could go wrong?

The idea is to increase voter turnout and cut election costs by phasing out polling places. But if you happen to be part of the too-lazy-to-vote school responsible for some of the lousy turnouts in the city’s recent history, allow me to thank you for staying home and not screwing up the works.

There are, it turns out, a lot of you. In the past 14 municipal elections, only about 1 in 4 registered voters, on average, even bothered to show up. In 2017’s municipal election, 49,370 of the city’s then-212,782 registered voters cast ballots. That’s 23.2 percent if there actually were 212,782 registered voters — and who really knows? When turnout is compared to the city’s entire population, 297,000, it drops to 17 percent, give or take.

Jenkins: Anchorage’s first-ever vote-by-mail balloting. I worry too much.

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