Ballot Measure 2 will disproportionally harm Alaska Natives.

This 25-page initiative would replace our simple method of voting with a complicated scheme financed by Lower-48 billionaires, without Alaska’s unique diversity in mind.

One year after all Alaska Natives were granted US citizenship, the Alaska Territorial Legislature enacted a literacy law requiring that voters be able to read and write in English – effectively disenfranchising thousands of Alaska Natives. Measure 2 will have a similar effect.

Lower-48 billionaires cannot begin to understand what it’s like to vote in rural Alaska, where one might have to travel through difficult terrain by boat, plane, or four-wheeler to get to a polling location.

The language barrier is also very real, particularly for many elders. Anything that complicates the voting process, such as Measure 2, will depress rural turnout and dilute Native voices. It’s the modern-day equivalent of a poll tax, designed to benefit those with privilege.

It’s no accident that local NAACP and ACLU chapters in the Lower-48 have opposed Ranked Choice Voting because it “exacerbates economic and racial disparities in voting.”

Please stand with vulnerable Alaskans and vote no on Ballot Measure 2.

Dana Leask-Ruaro

Juneau, AK

Four-Time Iditarod Winner Jeff King endorses Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate

Today, four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King endorsed Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate.Dr. Al Gross released the following statement regarding Jeff King’s endorsement.

“I am proud to have the endorsement of such an iconic Alaskan sportsman and fierce health care advocate. I remember watching Jeff King compete in the Iditarod and to have his support as we close out this race is truly an honor.”

Jeff King released the following statement endorsing Dr. Al Gross:

“For the last six years I have seen the most turbulent times in American politics then I could have ever imagined. Attacks on affordable health care, women’s health clinics and political hypocrisy has proven to me that Alaska needs new leadership.

Dr. Al Gross has worked in health care, and knows that the system is in dyer need of fixing. Al’s health care plan will help bring down costs in Alaska and provide coverage for those who need it most. Al has been a champion for women’s health and will protect reproductive rights. As a fisherman Al knows the pebble mine poses a far greater risk than reward for the people who depend on the fisheries of Bristol Bay. I fully endorse Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate because we need more people who will stand for Alaska over corporate interests and will be a champion for the American people. Alaska needs a lead dog in the Senate. Not a lap dog. Please vote for Dr. Al Gross”

Dr. Al Gross for Senate 

Anchorage, AK

Alaska Subsistence Hunting

Hunting is an important way to pass on family traditions and fill our freezers with healthy wild game meat. As we begin the 40-Mile Caribou winter hunt, we want to make sure you are ready to get out and be successful in your harvest. On top of everything that you may have on your typical pre-hunt checklist, you will also need to be aware of any COVID-19 mandates that local communities have put into place.

Knowing who manages the lands on which you will be hunting is important. In some cases, that may influence whether you can legally hunt there. Typically, Alaskans access the backcountry with ATVs, some other form of off-road vehicle, planes, or boats. Sometimes though there are restrictions on how you traverse those lands. For example, the Pinnell Mountain Trail along the Steese National Conservation Area straddles BLM-managed and State lands and each side of the trail has different rules. Contacting local BLM and DNR offices are your best bet to know land status and rules for the areas you plan to travel.

Along with all your usual hunting gear, you will need to make sure you are fully prepared for the frigid temperatures that Interior Alaska is known for. Hypothermia is a very real possibility during a winter hunt and making sure you stay warm and dry is essential. To assist with that, being fully prepared before you leave home is especially important this season as every one of us is having to adapt our lives considering the pandemic. Given the situation at the time you go hunting, some of the local communities you have traditionally passed through for supplies and provisions could have restrictions in place. You need to check ahead of time at and prepare for limited access to those services.

It may have been a while ago, but we both remember our hunter education class and the things our instructors stressed to us as young hunters. Respect our natural resources, leave the land better than you found it and take care of the meat and carcass properly. The land you hunt on needs to remain viable for future generations of hunters and wildlife. Respect other hunters, follow safe firearm handling and refrain from interfering with another’s hunt. Respect landowners, know whose land you’re hunting on and follow the rules.

We love seeing Alaskans out harvesting our wild game resource and utilizing both our federal and state lands. We as hunters lead by example and Alaskans are an example of those who respect and cherish our wild game and the lands we hunt on. As you plan for your upcoming hunt we ask you to make sure you’ve checked all the boxes and once you’re out there conduct yourselves in a manner that shows a good example to future generations of young Alaskans.

Be safe and we wish you happy hunting!

Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner of ADFG

Chad Padgett, State Director for the BLM

The Empty Promises of Ballot Measure 2

I spent four years overseeing Alaska’s elections as lieutenant governor. During that time, as well as during my earlier years as a legislator, I developed a keen appreciation for how much our representative government depends on an election process that is simple, transparent, impartial and honest.

I reviewed Ballot Measure 2—all 25 pages of it—and conclude that instead of what its proponents say, it is complex, obscure, and unfair. Its length alone challenges describing all its shortcomings.

Ballot Measure 2 offers the seductive promise that it will “…take back power from dark money special interests and give it to regular Alaskans.” Yet the irony is that it instead protects the power of Outside special interest groups to spend dark money. How so? Because it specifically exempts ballot measure groups from the rigorous disclosure requirements it would impose on groups that seek to affect the outcome of races for school board, assembly or council, State Legislature, and other offices.

The hypocrisy of this is stunning. To understand how it would work, consider the example of a small non-profit group in Alaska that seeks to spend a nominal amount of money, say $750, to support a school board candidate. This group will be subject to stringent rules requiring disclosure of all of its large donors ($2,000 or more). Yet it would allow powerful Lower 48 special interest groups to dump millions of dollars of “dark money” into ballot measure campaigns, with no similar disclosure requirements. How is it fair to saddle small Alaska groups with demanding new rules, while Outside billionaires continue to secretly funnel their money to influence our elections?

In addition, Ballot Measure 2 won’t affect the vast sums of money spent by Outside groups in races for U.S. Senate and House in Alaska. Some voters might be tempted to vote yes, thinking it will bring a merciful end to the avalanche of political advertising we are enduring. But it’s a false expectation. Most of the advertising right now is for campaigns for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and Ballot Measures 1 and 2. All of this spending would be completely unfettered and unregulated by Ballot Measure 2. If it passes, it won’t take long for voters to experience “buyer’s remorse.”

Let’s also consider its other major provisions – the open “jungle primary” and “ranked choice voting.” Proponents say these changes will create a less partisan environment, which in turn will produce leaders who are more capable of solving Alaska’s difficult challenges. That’s a bold but false claim. We can look at other jurisdictions that have tried these experiments.

California and Washington have primary elections similar to what Ballot Measure 2 proposes. Is the political environment in these states less toxic than Alaska? I don’t think so. Both states are besieged by overtaxed budgets, rising homelessness, rampant traffic, unaffordable housing, civil unrest, and many other problems. Where is the evidence that a “jungle primary” somehow produces a breed of political leaders that is wiser, kinder and more capable?

San Francisco has used ranked-choice voting for more than 15 years. Yet the city is plagued by problems its elected leaders seem unable or unwilling to solve. Maine is using this for its U.S. Senate race this year. A headline in the October 2 Bangor Daily News tells how it’s working: “Maine’s US Senate race is the most negative one in the country.” Are they doing better than Alaska? The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

I do believe Alaska’s election system could be improved, but instead of this convoluted approach, we can apply home-grown solutions that really work. Rather than shining light on the electoral process, Ballot Measure 2 makes voting more confusing and imports failed experiments from other states. I urge Alaskans to vote no.

Loren Leman served as Lieutenant Governor from 2002 to 2006 and was a legislator for 14 years before that.

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