On Nov. 8, Alaskans vote on whether to authorize a constitutional convention. This vote is held every 10 years and Alaskans have repeatedly rejected a constitutional convention. We join our fellow Alaskans across the state and across party lines, and urge a no vote to the question: “Shall there be a constitutional convention?”
Voting no on a constitutional convention is vital to the well-being and stability of our state. Our State Constitution, revered as a model to others and which has been described as “well-crafted, short, and elegant,” has served Alaska well since statehood. Our constitution expressly protects our right to privacy, our right to religious freedom, our right to speak our mind, the common use of our natural resources for hunting and fishing, and other rights which protect each of us from government intrusion. It directs the State to sustainably manage our resources for future generations. It protects our permanent fund dividend.
It has been estimated that a constitutional convention could cost upwards of $17 million and would cause political and economic uncertainty. It would open up the entire constitution to debate and possible changes, throwing businesses and government into chaos as they would be unable to plan for the future.
Each of us has the privilege to vote and no matter your political leanings, your vote in the November election is more important than ever. We recognize that, as Alaskans, we have an obligation to protect the values enshrined in the state constitution. Now is the time to put aside our differences and work together to preserve all of our rights and protections under the Alaska Constitution. By voting no on the constitutional convention, we can avoid unintended consequences that could be disastrous to our freedoms, our natural resources, our businesses, and other Alaskan values we do not want to lose.
We respectfully ask for your no vote on a constitutional convention and that you share the issues and concerns related to it with your family, friends and neighbors. Working together this ballot measure can once again be defeated.
Sioux Douglas has lived in Juneau for 40 years, and six years in Skagway, where she served as mayor. Beth Chapman is a local attorney and 34-year resident of Juneau.