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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Ballot Measure 2 is a mess

  • Author: David Donley
    | Opinion
  • Updated: October 13, 2020
  • Published October 13, 2020

A recent Daily News story about Ballot Measure 2 left out some crucial facts that make this idea a real stinker. A similar idea was rightfully rejected by 64% of Alaskan voters in 2002. As a life-long Alaskan, Alaska Bar member for over 40 years, author of one successful amendment to the Alaska Constitution and co-author of several others, and a state legislator for 16 years, I see many problems with Ballot Measure 2.

First, at least one of the very few other states that have tried “ranked choice voting” has subsequently repealed it. North Carolina adopted this idea in 2006, but it worked so badly they repealed it in 2013. In the 2010 North Carolina Court of Appeals election, ranked-choice voting unfairly did not fully count the votes of an estimated 44% of voters - 862,000 people were disenfranchised. Several other local governments that experimented with ranked-choice voting— including Ann Arbor, Michigan; Aspen, Colorado; and Pierce County, Washington — have repealed it.

Second, it allows candidates to intentionally deceive voters. Hidden within its 25 pages and 74 sections, it allows candidates to lie to voters about their political affiliations. Under current law, the candidate’s party affiliation follows the candidate’s name on the ballot. Under the initiative, if a candidate has a party affiliation, it may appear on the ballot, but only if the candidate requests it. That is bad enough, but shockingly, if a candidate requests to be designated as nonpartisan or undeclared, that designation shall be placed on the ballot, even if the candidate is a Democrat or Republican. (Page 8, Section 21)

Third, Ballot Measure 2 is unconstitutional. The election rules for governor and lieutenant governor are in Alaska’s Constitution and cannot be amended by initiative. The backers of Ballot Measure 2 know this. So why does it still purport to amend the constitution? Possibly, because they do not want voters to know it won’t apply to the most important state race on the ballot. So much for honesty in politics.

These are just a few of the many problems with Ballot Measure 2 and why there is growing bipartisan opposition to it. It is a poorly drafted, confusing mess of bad ideas. Alaskans should vote no on Ballot Measure 2 and not abandon the “one person, one vote” principle that has been the proven core of American democracy for more than 200 years.

Dave Donley


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