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Think you're qualified to vote? Can you pass the HEPCAT?

  • Author: Michael Carey
  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published August 5, 2014

Do you know enough about the candidates and issues in the upcoming Aug. 19 primary election -- and enough about Alaska political history -- to cast an informed ballot? Sure you do. You're no slacker.

But let's put you to the test -- the High Energy Politics Carey Awareness Test (HEPCAT) devised for this election. There are 20 questions. Each correct answer is worth five points. Accumulate 70 points and you are a certifiable HEPCAT. Get all 20 questions right, and you win a hunting trip guided by Congressman Don Young.

I. The first bill passed by the first Alaska Legislature (1913) allowed:

A. Riverboat gambling on the Yukon.
B. Amnesty to illegal immigrants.
C. Women the right to vote.
D. Same-sex marriage among lonely miners.

II. The lyrics of "The Alaska Flag Song" -- our state song -- were written by:

A. Jewel.
B. Marie Drake.
C. Frank Zappa.
D. Barry White.

III. Alaska became a state in 1959. That same year:

A. Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army.
B. John F. Kennedy married Marilyn Monroe over the pope's objection.
C. Thirty-four of the 40 members of the state House were Democrats.
D. The Harlem Globetrotters won the World Series.

IV. Don Young became embroiled in controversy when he crudely criticized which artist before Fairbanks high school students:

A. Grandma Moses.
B. Robert Mapplethorpe.
C. Fred Machentanz.
D. Andy Warhol.

V. Wally Hickel, the first elected Republican governor of Alaska (1966), appointed the first Republican state attorney general. He was:

A. Algonquin J. Calhoun.
B. Edgar Paul Boyko.
C. Chancy Croft.
D. Atticus Finch.

VI. If the Vote Yes! team prevails at the polls with their oil-tax referendum, Alaska will:

A. Become a subsidiary of the rock band Yes.
B. Banish Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips to North Dakota.
C. Restore the ACES legislation sponsored by Sarah Palin.
D. Become as dark, cold and uninhabitable as Pluto, just as astronomer Paul Jenkins predicted.

VII. Who said, "The referendum is not about the oil companies -- it is about Alaska's economic future. I am voting no ..."?

A. Tony Knowles.
B. Tony Soprano.
C. Tony (the Ant) Spilotro.
D. Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno.

VIII. Former state House member -- and former jailbird -- Vic Kohring is back on the ballot. He is running for:

A. The U.S. Senate.
B. The Wasilla Senate.
C. Chaplain of the Knights of the Mystic Sea.
D. Commissioner of the Department of Community and Regional Affairs.

IX. The lieutenant governor, currently Senate candidate Mead Treadwell, is specifically responsible for:

A. Investing the Alaska Permanent Fund in New Jerusalem Notes redeemable at the resurrection.
B. Conducting state elections.
C. Supervising the state Powerball Lottery.
D. Ensuring the Alcohol Control Board does not violate drinkers' rights.

X. Tea party favorite Joe Miller is back on the ballot after losing a U.S. Senate race in 2010. He lost because:

A. He arrested a newspaper reporter and the media conspired to ruin him in revenge.
B. He could not stop bragging about the Bronze Star he won in a foreign war.
C. He had no answer for Lisa Murkowski's streamlined write-in campaign.
D. His beard turned off women voters.

XI. All three of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate graduated from tony private colleges. Democrat Mark Begich graduated from:

A. Faber College, where he was a fraternity brother of John Belushi aka Bluto Blutarsky.
B. Cal Berkeley, where he was the darling of his left-wing professors.
C. UAA, where he was chairman of Young Americans for Freedom.
D. No college at all.

XII. Incumbent governor Sean Parnell became governor in 2009 when:

A. Sarah Palin married John McCain.
B. Sarah Palin abdicated and headed for Arizona.
C. Frank Murkowski flew off in the state jet.
D. The office of lieutenant governor was abolished by referendum.

XIII. If voters reject the oil-tax referendum:

A. Gov. Sean Parnell will become an oil lobbyist the day he leaves office.
B. President Barack Obama will pardon Bill Allen of Veco.
C. Economist Scott Goldsmith will receive Exxon's Man of the Year Award.
D. SB 21 will remain the law.

XIV. Dan Sullivan, Republican candidate for the Senate, is called Ohio Dan because:

A. Voters constantly confuse him with Anchorage Dan.
B. He begins every public appearance with "Go Buckeyes!"
C. He grew up in a wealthy Ohio home and has received a bankful of campaign contributions from Ohio.
D. He is a direct descendant of Warren Harding.

XV. In 1990, the Alaskan Independence Party candidate for governor won a upset victory. He was.

A. Wally Hickel.
B. Wally Cleaver.
C. William Wallace.
D. Wally Cox.

XVI. The marijuana initiative was pushed back from the primary election to the general election because:

A. Proponents thought they could get a higher turnout (if you catch my drift).
B. Opponents needed more time to produce terrifying TV spots that would scare the bejesus out of voters.
C. The legislative session lasted more than 90 days.
D. The FBI ordered Gov. Parnell to delay the election.

XVII. If Bill Walker is elected governor, he will be the second elected governor from Valdez. The first was:

A. T-Bone Walker.
B. Scott Walker.
C. Hiram Walker.
D. Bill Egan.

XVIII. Just before statehood, the governor of Alaska appeared on the cover of Time magazine. He was:

A. George Miscovich.
B. John Butrovich.
C. Mike Stepovich.
D. Weird Al Yankovic.

XIX. In Alaska, judges are appointed and then either retained or not retained by the voters at subsequent elections. We have this system because:

A. Vic Fischer attached a bill of attainder with a carpe diem clause to the Constitution.
B. Judge Judy ruled that elections are "too political."
C. The Supreme Court misread the Book of Judges.
D. The founders, including Fischer, longed for an independent judiciary.

XX. As we all should know from our civics textbooks, in Alaska a bill becomes a law after:

A. Enough lobbyists sign a discharge petition.
B. The bill is approved by the House, Senate and governor.
C. The governor sends the measure to oil executives in Houston for their certification.
D. Rev. Jerry Prevo determines the legislation adheres to Scripture.

(Correct answers: C, B, C, B, B, C, A, A, B, C, D, B, D, C, A, C, D, C, D, B)

Michael Carey is a local columnist.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)

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