Voices of Alaska: Alaska Republicans ready to vote for president

  • By Frank McQueary
  • Saturday, February 20, 2016 4:29pm
  • Opinion

Across the Kenai, volunteers are putting final touches on what will be an exciting day for Republicans: Super Tuesday.

They’ve been training for weeks on how to run a proper polling station and, with several great presidential candidates to choose from, these volunteers are expecting a big turnout on March 1.

The Alaska Republican Party joins 13 other states and territories that will have caucuses, primaries and polls that day. These are distinctly different political traditions for choosing the Republican nominee for president, but they all lead to a presidential nomination.

Alaska’s Presidential Preference Poll is not a caucus, where fewer people typically participate. With caucuses, people gather in meeting halls, engage in debate for and against candidates, and vote either by secret ballot or by placing themselves in a section of the room to indicate their support for a particular candidate.  

The Alaska Presidential Preference Poll is also not a primary, because it’s not run by the state. The PPP is the one chance that Republicans have to bind the votes of delegates to the Republican National Convention.

The Kenai Peninsula will have numerous voting locations for this occasion. The Alaska Republican Party web site, www.alaskagop.org, has a complete listing.

We expect thousands of Alaskans to take part by heading to a polling place in their legislative district. District party volunteers will tally the totals at the end of the process and the statewide count will be announced later that night or in the early hours the next day.

Although only Republicans take part in choosing the Republican nominee, it’s easy enough to change one’s registration, and most voting locations will have a qualified voter registrar available to assist. It only takes minutes to register as a Republican and we encourage Alaskans to do so.

More than 26 percent of Alaska’s 514,162 registered voters are already registered Republicans. Although our state’s independent streak does lean right and typically votes right, more than half of Alaska voters don’t officially affiliate with any party at all. We’d be happy to help them change that because we value their participation in choosing the next president.

With our Republican majority in the State House and Senate, and our Republican national delegation, Alaska is awarded as many delegates to the Republican National Convention as a much more populous state, such as Oregon.

Twenty-eight Alaska delegates and 25 alternates will head to Cleveland in July to take part in the naming of the Republican nominee. Their votes on the floor of the convention will be bound, through the third round of voting, by decisions made by us — the voters who participate on March 1.

Candidates must receive at least 13 percent of the total statewide Presidential Preference Poll vote to receive any delegates to the national convention, which is why we are now seeing effort made by the leading candidates to reach Alaska Republicans and urge them to get to the poll on March 1.

I want to thank the volunteer army on the Kenai that is working hard to ensure that the Presidential Preference Poll is a success.

You also can help make it a historic success, by showing up to your district polling place on March 1, from 3-8 p.m., with your identification, such as your driver’s license or voter ID card.

Add your voice to this great process that leads to a peaceful transfer of power every four years.

 

Frank McQueary is the vice chairman of the Alaska Republican Party and is the director of the 2016 Presidential Preference Poll.

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