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VotingRightsAlaska.org

An educational site brought to you

by the League of Women Voters of Alaska

VotingRightsAlaska2023-06-22T15:31:30-08:00

News

Legislative session over, one-day special session complete.  Summer comes to Alaska!

Check out the final newsletter, and stay tuned for more news as we head into election season in the fall.

Update on Governor's Vetos

On June 19th, Governor Dunleavy signed the state budget into law after vetoing more than $200 million from it.  The governor’s biggest single cut was half of a $175 million one-time funding boost for K-12 public schools. This is disappointing as so many people were in support of helping better fund our school systems.

The 2023 Legislative Session wrap-up!

Read the 2023 Newsletters published by the LWV-Alaska

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023

February 2023

January 2023

Part of our responsibility as citizens of a democracy is the responsibility to register to vote, get informed on issues and candidates, and to vote in each election.

A Quote from retiring Chief Justice Daniel Winfree:

“I recognize that some here don’t believe in an independent judiciary but rather believe that Alaska’s judges should be hand-picked and controlled by politicians so that the judges will render decisions that the politicians want. Our constitutional convention delegates were aware of that view and they expressly rejected it, along with rejecting the notion of elected judges and they did so in favor of the merit selection process we have in Alaska. The delegates wanted politics out of the judicial selection process all the way up to the governor’s constitutionally authorized appointment of a judge from the list of the most-qualified applicants provided by the Alaska Judicial Council.”

Update:  May, 2023

The Legislative session completed without a comprehensive election bill passing.

News:

While we got a final, balanced budget, an update to the student allocation for Education, and a $1,300 PFD, not much in the way of bills we were watching passed ti become law.  However, expect a big push and focus beginning early in January, 2024 to move some of these bills during the second session.  Review final status of bills in the newsletter.

Read more in the final May newsletter.

Update:  March, 2023

Senate Education and House Education committees continued hearings on issues in Education and the Base Student Allocation (BSA).

News Regarding Voting and Ballots:

There was a group of election bills heard this month.  The LWVAK and the Alaska ACLU both testified in support of House Bill 37.  This bill includes a new provision that would allow a voter to be informed and to correct mistakes made on their mailed-in ballot if the elections office receives the correction within 14 days after the election.It also provides for a system to check voters’ signatures, provide a stamped return envelope for mail-in ballots and create stricter penalties for election crimes.
Read more in the April newsletter.

Update:  February, 2023

Senate Education and House Education committees continued hearings on issues in Education and the Base Student Allocation (BSA).

News Regarding Voting and Ballots:

Here’s an excerpt of an article published in the Homer News:

“In the 2022 state election too many mail-in absentee ballots were rejected due to some error by the voter such as not signing or neglecting to get their signature witnessed.  These voters were not able to correct their ballot as our state election system does not allow for that.  According to thefulcrum.us there are 24 states that have some form of ballot curing for their elections. Ballot curing is the process where the elections office would notify the voter of an error and allow for them to correct the error so their vote would be counted.  Luckily there are two bills advancing in the legislative session that would create ballot curing.  

Both Senate Bill 19 and House Bill 37 include a new provision that would allow a voter to be informed and to correct mistakes made on their mailed-in ballot if the elections office receives the correction within 14 days after the election.  They will also provide for a system to check voters’ signatures, provide a stamped return envelope for mail-in ballots and create stricter penalties for election crimes.”

Read more in the March newsletter.

Week of January 30, 2023

Senate Education committee continued hearings on issues in Education and the Base Student Allocation (BSA).

The Senate Education Committee has now issued SB52 – an Increase in the Base Student Allocation .  This would raise the BSA $1,000.  

Week of January 23, 2023

This week saw two meetings of interest:  On Tuesday, January 24th, the Alaskans for Better Elections  along with data from Sightline (an independent research agency) on the 2022 elections were presented to the Senate State Affairs committee.  Watch it here. 

There is some really good research information from Sightline on how RCV has increased competitiveness and actually made our elections look more like our voter preferences (thus making it more democratic – not less).  

And, on Thursday the 26th, there was a 2022 elections recap by the Division of Elections, including the topic on the challenge for rural voting.  

Michelle Macaur Sparck of Get Out the Native Vote, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, offered testimony about the challenges of running elections in remote locations. The problems with USPS delivery of equipment to villages and completed ballots to Juneau was also discussed. 

The 2023 Legislative Issues and Upcoming items to watch

LWVAK Legislative Issues From the 2023 Alaska State Legislative Session include those focused on elections, voting and education.

Elections:  The legislation we’re tracking this year are those who could affect your access to the polls, access to ballots and making sure every vote is received and counted.

We support our current system of Ranked Choice Voting and Open Primaries and they better support democracy.  They enable more people to vote in the primaries, they enable more people to run for office, and they enable your voice to be heard in more ways than just having one choice.

Education:  We support increased funding for education, and we are supportive of civics education in the schools.  The more people understand what democracy is, how our government functions, and ways to be involved, the better our country.

Did you know?

Alaska Facts
Alaska ranks 49th out of all 50 states in quality of education
Alaskan teachers don’t have a pension, nor are they eligible for Social Security
From 2012 to 2022, Alaska’s urban consumer price index increased by 24.6 percent while Alaska’s Base Student Allocation increased by only 4.2 percent
Ranked choice voting works!  More choices gives you more freedom!  Go Democracy!
RCV eliminates problems like vote-splitting, so-called “spoiler” candidates and unrepresentative outcomes that can arise when more than two candidates run for a single position
RCV Saves Money!  It eliminates the need for expensive preliminary elections and runoffs

Prepare to vote:  Verify your information

Don’t have an issue when you vote.  Make sure your information is correct.  

Need still more info?
Alaska Division of Elections
Contact Information

The easiest way to check and/or update your voter registration is online.  Be sure your address is up-to-date, and find  your district, precinct and polling place.  Click here to check your information.

Decide which option you prefer for voting: absentee by mail, in person early voting,  or on Election Day.  Are you heading out of town?  If so, apply for an absentee ballot before it is too late.  Click here to download an absentee ballot form.

Can’t get off of work on election day?  Check for early voting options, often two weeks’ prior to the election day.   NOT ALL LOCATIONS in Alaska have early voting, so check early.  Click here to find early voting locations, dates and hours.

Want to vote in person ON Election day?  Verify your polling place. Click here to find your polling place.


When voting in person, bring either your voter ID card or driver’s license.  Other forms of ID could be a state ID, military ID, passport, hunting or fishing license, or another current valid photo ID. If you don’t have one of these IDs, you may present a current utility bill, paycheck, government check, bank statement or another government-issued document.  Check the Division of Elections webpage for more information on
Voter ID.

Get Informed!

Check out more details by selecting the section at the right.

Vote!

Ranked Choice Voting gives voters the chance to rank candidates in order of preference. It’s straightforward: rank candidates in order of your choice. Bottom line: If one candidate receives a majority (more than 50%) of the first-choice votes, they win! If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and those votes count instantly toward the next choice on each voter’s ballot. This process repeats until one candidate has a majority.

Here are additional links for more information on Ranked Choice Voting.

Division of Elections Ranked Choice Information

Alaskans for Better Elections

Know how you are going to vote before you go.

The Alaska Division of Elections has updated their website. Get information directly from the source.  There are many more sites you can look over to help you make up your mind.

Main page for the Alaska Division of Elections.  Start here.

Kenai Peninsula Votes  YouTube tells you what to expect at the polls.

AARP Alaska has a great Alaska Voting Site with clear and easy to follow information.

League of Women Voters – Vote411 site.

  • If you move from Alaska, let the Division of Elections know that you won’t be voting and ask them to take your name off Alaska’s voter rolls.  The quickest way to do this is to call your local state election office.  The election worker will ask for your name and identifying information such as birthdate, social security number, or driver’s license and remove your name from the voter rolls.  And don’t forget to register in your new state.
  • Voters must self-educate themselves about issues and candidates.  Don’t rely on one line from a campaign poster or a blurb from the TV, or the candidate’s party affiliation.  Listen to debates and check the candidate’s website or social media.
  • Be aware as a voter about disinformation (deliberate use of false info), misinformation (accidental use of false info) and gaslighting (denying the obvious).  These are used to confuse voters.
  • Demand civil discourse in a discussion of public policy.  Voters deserve fact-based rebuttal; they don’t need name-calling or gaslighting, both techniques that weaken a democracy.
  • Democratic governance works best when both candidates and voters use critical thinking and work across party lines to shape the best public policy possible.

A source you can trust

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization. We encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League acts in support of, or in opposition to, selected governmental issues that its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates, factions, or political parties. League members, as individuals, may support candidates of the political party of their choice. In order to protect the League’s nonpartisanship policy, guidelines regarding the political activities of the Board of Directors are reviewed frequently.

League of Women Voters of Alaska
PO Box 101345
Anchorage, AK 99510-1345
Email us:  infolwvak@gmail.com

 

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