ADF&G Strongly Opposes Illegal Closure of Federal Lands to Non-Federally Qualified Alaskans

The Federal Subsistence Board recently closed federal lands occupied by the Nelchina caribou herd to non-federally qualified users. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is the principle manager of this herd and strongly opposed this action. There was simply no biological justification to close this hunt to non-federally qualified hunters.

A state authorized youth hunt for caribou opens August 1st. We encourage participation in this hunt. State lands remain open to hunting. This hunt provides Alaskans, whether rural or urban, an opportunity to pass on the hunting heritage that makes Alaska unique. Taking away the youth hunt on federal lands is an unjustified intrusion into state management rights gained at statehood and reinforced with the passage of ANILCA.

The State is actively exploring its options to challenge this unnecessary and illegal closure of federal lands to non-rural hunters.

Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

500 Businesses in Bethel

How many of those are economically viable? Is any one of those a relation to you? I am sure you are aware of that and are going to monitor the flow of the green in a sensible way. 500, can you name them all in paper? Let the people know who they are. The businesses that is to say. 500 in a community of over 6000. Bethel could use that to give itself a face-lift, like traffic lights similar to the crossing at YKHC, more push buttons. I want to cross the street to get to the other side. Road and sidewalk improvement, like get the dust blowing in the wind right out of my face or simply have all those people with vehicles slow down. Tear down those abandoned houses left to rot by hiring a bunch of young people throughout the city. A rural renewal, so to speak. Keeping the green in Bethel is good and helps not to raise the sales tax as high as it is already. So much to do, with little time. And then a whole lot more. Got to go, later, be safe, God bless, peace and be good.

George Seal

Bethel, AK

One year later, Recall Dunleavy still committed to Alaska

Unlike countless people-powered initiatives in the Lower 48 that have shuttered in the face of COVID-19, Recall Dunleavy continues on with innovative ideas, steadily collecting signatures during this pandemic. Our “sign at home” petitions, drive through events, and pop-up signature collection are active and ongoing today, one year after a committed group of Alaskans joined together to recall Governor Mike Dunleavy.

Alaska is empowered with a viable recall. If we want change on a national level, we lead this change by first upending the tenure of Governor Dunleavy, right here in our great state.

Governor Dunleavy has not become more competent, more ethical, nor more capable over the last year. Unsurprisingly, he has simply become more adept at slipping through unpopular actions during a distracting and difficult time for every Alaskan. We remain thankful for the true professionals that remain in government, and we sincerely hope that—in the interests of Alaskans’ health moving forward—he heeds their expertise and guidance moving forward.

In 2019, the recall effort was not born of anger or frustration over the last election, but rather in shock and disbelief over the Governor’s blatant disrespect for Alaska’s constitution, incompetence, inability to do the job required, and his lack of basic budgeting abilities.

A group of committed Alaskans, including Republicans, Independents, Non-Partisans, and Democrats, watched in dismay as Governor Dunleavy weakened and dismantled nearly everything he touched; from constitutional separation of powers, cronyism, to dignified support to our seniors and students across all levels of education – and we knew we had to do something about it.

In February and early March 2020, the second round of signature gathering kicked off and Alaskans organized events around the state. Once again, thousands of Alaskans turned out to show support for the recall—this time stepping out in snow storms to ensure their inclusion in a historic movement in our state.

Shortly after the launch of the petition phase, Covid-19 forced the cancellation of large gatherings, and signature collection naturally slowed as Alaskans chose to stay home. While volunteers and supporters around the state assessed next steps, they were heartened that in less than three weeks prior to the pandemic setting in, we had collected over 30,000 signatures together.

Of course signature gathering has slowed down; it would be insane to not expect it to–especially compared with our movement’s track record of working at breakneck speed. However, progress has been steady throughout the spring and summer. We will continue collecting signatures because our commitment to Alaska and our Constitution have not waivered in the slightest.

The recall’s tireless, dedicated Alaskan supporters continue to believe that our state needs to replace Governor Dunleavy. We will carry on collecting signatures in order to guarantee all Alaskans are free to make their own choice on who will lead us through the challenging economic recovery ahead. If you have yet to sign the recall petition in 2020, find an in-person location to sign:

Bruce Jamieson, Member

Recall Dunleavy Steering Committee

Fairbanks, Alaska

Ranked-Choice Voting and Ballot Measure 2 Should Be Voted Down

Every Lieutenant Governor of Alaska I’ve known takes his or her role overseeing elections very seriously. Impartial, crystal-clear election rules are vital to our democracy. We should not be bamboozled by a proposal – set for the November ballot – that would deny political parties the ability to put forward a candidate, and totally confuse the process for the rest of us as voters.

A national voting fad has made its way to Alaska this November, by way of ranked-choice voting in Ballot Measure 2. It would eliminate party primaries for a free-for-all. It would create confusion at the polls. It potentially would render a person’s vote not to be counted.

As a former Lt. Governor of our state with experience overseeing elections, I join leaders of all political parties urging Alaskans to vote this proposition down.

Imagine a situation where candidates of the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Alaska Independence Party, even perhaps the Republican and Democratic parties are, after a wide-open primary, not even allowed to appear on the General Election ballot. Only four candidates would make it to a General Election ballot, in a state which usually has five or more parties.

Thus, Ballot Measure 2 restricts our civil right to associate and form a viable party. Sounds hardly Constitutional or fair. I’ve worked with Libertarian, Green, and Alaska Independence Party elected officials during my career, and we already make it tough — perhaps too tough — for newer or “smaller” parties to put a candidate forward in a General Election.

I’ve run in three Republican primaries myself and seen times when several candidates in my party’s contest drew more votes than all the other parties combined. In a highly contested primary situation, with a single candidate in another party, it’s possible that party’s choice doesn’t even make it to the November ballot.

Far more people vote in General Elections. Primaries should narrow a party’s choice of people, not the peoples’ choice of parties.

The “ranked-choice” part of this proposal comes later, during the General Election.

If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes, then the candidate with the least number of votes is dropped from the ballot, and those who had that candidate as their first choice get their second choice counted instead in a re-tally. This continues until one candidate is declared the winner.

Simple? Hardly. This proposed form of voting is so complex, in fact, that when Maine implemented it in 2016, officials needed a 19-page instruction manual for voters to explain it.

Other states have found that ranked-choice voting leads to some voices not being fully heard in the political and electoral Studies on ranked-choice voting have shown that minority groups, voters with less education, older voters, and those whose first language is not English are less likely to fill out their ballots completely.

With ranked-choice voting, when people leave blanks on their ballots or assign the same ranking to different candidates, those ballots can be discarded in the subsequent and final tabulations. This means that their vote may not be counted, creating what is otherwise known as “exhausted ballots.” This process gives those who fully complete their ballots more influence over the electoral process, and leaves those who don’t understand the process more likely to be disenfranchised.

Another problem with ranked-choice voting is there is not always a majority winner. In one extreme case, the prevailing candidate in a 2010 San Francisco election won with less than 25 percent of the total votes. While this is not always the case with ranked-choice voting, a non-majority winner is a possibility that occurs 61 percent of the time, according to research done by the Maine Policy Institute.

As a final warning about the ranked-choice voting scheme, multiple jurisdictions in the U.S. have implemented and later repealed ranked-choice voting. These include the state of North Carolina; Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Pierce County, Washington. While the voters in these jurisdictions may have had varying reasons to repeal ranked-choice voting, one thing is clear: voters preferred their traditional voting method of “one person, one vote” over the convoluted ranked-choice system.

There is no denying the importance of voting, nor the importance of keeping elections simple and accessible for every eligible voter. Unfortunately, while proponents of Ballot Measure 2 make it sound easy, ranked-choice voting is confusing, runs counter to the democratic process, and disenfranchises voters. All eligible voters in Alaska deserve to have their ballots counted and their voices heard. Adopting ranked-choice voting will accomplish the opposite.

Mead Treadwell

Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 2010-2014

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