Several bills have been filed in the AK Legislature this year pertaining to voting rights and elections, and we are geared up to support the good ones and fight the bad ones.
There is a Republican partisan movement afoot to rescind the popular Ranked Choice Voting/Open Primary law passed by a majority of Alaskan Citizens just two years ago - we are going to fight these bills tooth and nail because they seek to constrict the will of the people. We are supporting bills that expand the ability of Alaskans to choose the politicians that best represent their values.
Laws around voting seem simple enough but never are. Voting is about human agency, and voter suppression is about control. We don’t have to look too far down the blood-stained history of our nation to understand this - from the Women’s Suffrage Movement to the Voting Rights Act. At The Alaska Center, we stand firmly in support of increased voting rights. Period.
House Bill 1, House Bill 4, and Senate Bill 2 want to repeal our Ranked Choice/Open Primary law. We oppose these bills and will be actively working to stop them. Why? Because the people of Alaska spoke in the 2020 election and said they wanted a voting system where party control is not paramount. Political parties, corporations, and the wealthy should not run our Democracy. The people should run it, and the people wanted Ranked Choice Voting so they could have a broader suite of candidates to choose from.
House Bill 37 and Senate Bill 19 seek to empower Alaskan voters. These bills provide that the state will pay for the postage to return a by-mail ballot. These bills provide that if you make a mistake on a by-mail ballot, the State of Alaska will give you a chance to fix the mistake and have your vote count. These bills would ensure you can track your by-mail ballot through an online portal. These bills are the result of a compromise between Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in the previous legislative session, and we will be working to make sure they pass.
Alaskans deserve to know that their vote has been counted. If the “Big Lie” about stolen elections espoused by our former president did anything useful, it made Americans acutely concerned about their ballots being received and counted. While we vehemently oppose the violent and racist intent behind the Big Lie, we support measures that increase voter confidence, such as a ballot-tracking website. We support efforts that increase penalties for voter and election worker intimidation. We must be vigilant for attacks on Democracy.
We will be celebrating the life and legacy of Elizabeth Peratrovich on February 16th. Due to the advocacy of Elizabeth Peratovich, the territorial legislature codified civil rights for Indigenous Alaskans. We must carry on her work. Fighting to increase voting rights for all Alaskans is one way to do this.
The Alaska Center
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