JUNEAU -- The state's Elections Division has issued petition booklets for an initiative that aims to make applications for Permanent Fund dividends double as voter registration forms, clearing the way for signature gathering to begin.
It has set an Aug. 22 deadline for the petition booklets to be submitted.
The petition sponsors have received training from state elections officials on how to comply with state signature gathering rules since the July certification of the measure by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.
The initiative sponsors will now have about a year to collect 28,545 valid signatures, according to elections officials, a task made more complicated by a requirement that minimum numbers of signatures must come from 30 of the state's 40 House of Representatives districts.
A political group has also been formed to support the initiative, giving additional clues as to who will be backing the initiative.
The group, PFD Voter Registration, is chaired by Kim Reitmeier, president of the ANCSA Regional Association, made up of the chief executive officers of the state's regional Native corporations. She was one of the initiative's three original sponsors.
Named as treasurer is Paula DeLaiarro of Anchorage, along with a long list of deputy treasurers, who include Tim Kacillas and Aurora Lehr, the other two original sponsors, and 17 others.
The group's initial finance filings indicate it intends to spend heavily to gather the necessary signatures. It shows spending of $137,000 so far, mostly to hire Scott Kohlhass to do signature gathering. The former Libertarian candidate and party official was paid $12,000 by the group, which has also incurred at debt of $105,000 to him. It also incurred a debt of $20,000 to Harstad Strategic Research for a phone survey of voters.
PFD Voter Registration has only raised $25,000 so far, with $20,000 coming from Alaska Conservation Voters, headed by Polly Carr, and $5,000 from the Alaska AFL-CIO.
Carr also serves as a deputy treasurer, as do Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, political consultant Jim Lottsfeldt, and former congressional candidate Forrest Dunbar, who was most recently working to rewrite the state's Code of Military Justice.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing