Nothing but support for PFD-voter registration ballot measure

  • By LISA PHU
  • Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:13pm
  • News

Two people testified Friday morning in support of a citizen’s ballot initiative that ties voter registration to the Permanent Fund Dividend application.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott opened the public hearing on Ballot Measure No. 1, the Permanent Fund Voter Registration Initiative, in Juneau. Three other public hearings in Fairbanks, Seward and Nome were also going on concurrently. The measure will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

“There has been no submission of a statement of opposition,” he said of the largely uncontroversial measure. “After posting to the Alaska Online Public Notice System and solicitations, the Division of Elections did not receive a response for the statement in opposition for this ballot initiative.”

Marna Sanford in the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office said it’s a great idea to have Permanent Fund technology available for voter registration.

“I remember as a child, my mom having me sign my Permanent Fund application on the paper form, and we’ve watched as that division has used technology to make that easier. Now, I get an email from the state telling me it’s time to register for my PFD. It’s so easy and wonderful,” Sanford said. “It’s such a great way to use the technology that we’ve perfected for the Permanent Fund to make it easier for people to get involved.”

Natasha Singh, also testifying from the Fairbanks LIO, spoke in support of the measure on behalf of the Tanana Chiefs Conference and the 37 federally recognized tribes of the consortium.

“A lot of our tribal members are constantly moving between the village and urban centers and, unfortunately, registering to vote at their current address doesn’t always follow,” Singh said.

“We have found it difficult to register voters in the current system and we believe that once this initiative passes and everyone who applies for the PFD is also registered to vote, we will see an increased interest in our democracy. That’s what the ballot initiative will accomplish — a better democracy where everyone has a chance to have a voice in our elections, including Alaska natives who sometimes are a disenfranchised population,” she continued.

An initiative sponsor, John-Henry Heckendorn, also called in and read a statement of support.

In a comment submitted online Friday, Heckendorn wrote, “The Alaska Division of Elections has publicly projected that this initiative could result in as many as 70,000 newly registered voters in year one. (Currently, Alaska has about 500,000 registered voters.)”

If the measure passes, information submitted to the 2017 PFD application will also be sent to the Division of Elections. While the state processes PFD, the division will register eligible new voters and update addresses of established voters. New voters will receive a notification in the mail asking them to declare a political affiliation or opt out of the voter registration process. The proposition wouldn’t take away other forms of voter registration.

The public can submit comments on the ballot initiative any time up until the day of the election on the state’s Online Public Notices website, notice.alaska.gov. Otherwise, there is another opportunity for in-person or call-in testimony on Oct. 5 in Anchorage, Bethel, Sitka and Kotzebue.

The deadline to register for the November general election is Oct. 9.

Unregistered eligible voters will receive a postcard in the mail this week from the Division of Elections with information on how to register to vote, including the online site voterregistration.alaska.gov.

More in News

Copies of the Peninsula Clarion are photographed on Friday, June 21, 2024. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Announcing a new Peninsula Clarion print schedule

Our last Wednesday edition will be delivered June 26.

A bucket of recently caught sockeye salmon rests on the sand while anglers seek to fill it further at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnetting in Kasilof opens Tuesday

Dipnetting will be allowed at all times until Aug. 7

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Fish and Game restricts bait on Kasilof, Ninilchik Rivers

The use of bait on the rivers will begin Friday and extend to July 15 in Ninilchik, July 31 in Kasilof

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Slow sockeye fishing on Kenai, Russian Rivers

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 20

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bag limits doubled for sockeye salmon in Resurrection Bay

The increase is effective from June 21 to July 31

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School on Thursday, April 18.
Caring for the Kenai winners receive EPA award

Winning team of the 34th annual Caring for the Kenai was selected for the President’s Environmental Youth Award

Norm Blakely speaks to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly approves resolution guiding efforts to increase voter turnout

The Voter Turnout Working Group was established to explore options and ideas aimed at increasing voter participation

Most Read