League of Women Voters adopts new election policy

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Tuesday, September 15, 2015 10:39pm
  • News

The Alaska League of Women Voters has adopted new policies advocating for preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, options for felons who have served their prison terms and allowing registration on Election Day, among others, to extend voting rights for Alaska’s residents.

The league announced the changes to its Elections Position Statement on July 13, which were the first revisions the organization made regarding the state’s election processes in nearly 50 years.

“It sounds horrendous that the state position was so old,” said chair of the Alaska League of Women Voters Voting Committee Marjorie Menzi with a laugh. “But we often took action on positions adopted by the national (League of Women Voters) organization related to elections.”

The league researched for two years policies recently implemented and supported by public and private organizations nationwide, to pinpoint practices that would be most effective in Alaska, Menzi said. The organization will work directly with legislators to achieve its new set of priorities, she said.

Some of the league’s new positions are already in effect legally, so they are simply reinforcing existing laws, Menzi said.

For example, multiple forms of identification will work for eligible voters who show up on Election Day, Menzi said.

The current credentials are not required to include a photograph, which has actually been shown to be a deterrent to turnout in some cases, she said.

However, a number of the league’s new positions have not been adopted legally.

According to the State of Alaska Division of Elections, convicted felons are not allowed to vote until their rights have been restored. Menzi said to more easily integrate offenders back into society once their incarceration terms are served, reinstating their rights will speed up the process. The less time it takes for reintegration, the more quickly offenders will contribute to their communities, she said.

The league also hopes to make registration on Election Day an option, Menzi said.

Since the league has been in existence, it has taken positions individually and cooperatively on national, state and local political issues, Menzi said.

The league consists of four chapters in Kenai, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau that would work to implement adopted policies and positions on the state and local levels, said Central Peninsula League of Women Voters President Gail Knobf.

“We support issues,” Knobf said. “We don’t support candidates, but we support issues to expand the process for all eligible voters.”

Knobf said some of the newly written positions are already being carried out by the local chapters.

The Central Peninsula Chapter already organizes in-school sessions to sign up students under the age of 18 who are not yet registered to vote, Knobf said.

“We just want to make the whole voting process easy for everybody so that everybody can vote that is eligible,” Knobf said.

For a complete list of the policy changes visit lwvalaska.org/index.html.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska House passes budget with roughly $2,275 payments to residents, bill goes to Senate

The bill also includes a roughly $175 million, one-time increase in aid to school districts that would be paid according to a funding formula

The Kenai River flows near Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. The Riverfront Redevelopment project will impact much of Soldotna’s riverside areas downstream to the bridge. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna riverfront redevelopment planning moves forward

Soldotna City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a project manager to shepherd the Riverfront Redevelopment Project

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Corey Cannon, who plays baseball as part of Soldotna Little League, speaks to the Soldotna City Council during their meeting in Soldotna on Wednesday.
Soldotna Little League receives donation for facility repairs

The city owns the fields, but the Little League leases the land and is responsible for the maintenance of the facilities

Aleutian Airways logo. Photo courtesy of Aleutian Airways
Aleutian airways to halt Homer service during runway project

Service will be suspended beginning April 15

tease
Homer pedestrian pathway project selected for federal funding

The project will create greater nonmotorized transportation access in Homer

Vendors speak to attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Job and Career Fair in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Job Fair draws employers, seekers

The Job Center has options and opportunities to connect people with training, coaching and funding

Vanessa Uei checks in guests during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
AK Wellness & Tanning holds grand opening for new location

The expanded location is along the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai

The Kenai Senior Center’s dining space is readied for the annual March for Meals fundraiser in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Photo by Ken Aaron, provided by Kenai Senior Center)
March for Meals raises funds to support senior food service

The local event was organized by Kenai Senior Connection and hosted at the Kenai Senior Center

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna on Sunday.
Federal grant awarded for Whistle Hill solar project

The annual production of the completed system is estimated to be enough electricity to power 19 homes

Most Read