Alaskans from Skagway to Ketchikan met online September 10 with Yes on 2 for Better Elections campaign staff and regional leaders to discuss how Ballot Measure 2 will improve Alaska’s election process and create less partisan divide among elected officials.
More than 40 people participated in the Southeast Meet & Greet event to address the increasing extremism and lack of transparency in our political process, and to call for change. Watch the video on Facebook, or in the embed below.
Juneau resident Pat Race, a member of the Yes on 2 Steering Committee, expressed the frustration many feel about being forced to select either a Republican or Democratic Party ballot for primary elections.
“I’ve been a registered non-partisan voter for 15 years,” said Race. “I feel like independent and undeclared voters like myself aren’t well represented under the current system, which is unfortunate because we make up about 62% of the voting population of Alaska. ”
Access to the primary ballot was a theme of the evening, as local panelists highlighted that Ballot Measure 2 would return Alaska to its historic tradition of giving voters the option to choose those who represent their ideas best, regardless of political party.
“I’ve been a member of the Alaskan Republican Party since I turned 18, I’m still a member of the Alaska Republican Party, and I vote in republican primaries,” said Kiera O’Brien, founder of Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends and a graduate of Ketchikan High School and Harvard College.
“However, I do wish that other Alaskans had the voice that they should have in this process. Ballot Measure 2 would ultimately take back local control for Alaskans. It would allow Alaskans to elect the people who know their issues best, who would elevate the issues they care about most, rather than listening to partisan squabbling at the federal level,” she said.
Ephraim Froehlich, a lifelong Alaskan who has worked on bipartisan teams in former Governor Bill Walker’s administration and Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office, expressed excitement for the Ranked Choice Voting element of Ballot Measure 2.
“There are significant scholarly studies on the effects of Ranked Choice Voting in societies, on electorates,” he said. “Obviously there are folks who argue against it. I would assert that those people live on one end or the other of the polls and political spectrum, which is not where I believe most Alaskans live,” he said.
Southeast legislators also vocalized support for Ballot Measure 2 this week during the Legislators for Better Elections webinar on Wednesday.
Dan Ortiz, Alaska State Representative (Independent- Ketchikan) states, “I support Ballot Measure 2. If it’s enacted, it will serve to greatly reduce the political gridlock that currently exists within the Alaska Legislature. Being a non-partisan I know full well the roadblocks that currently exist within the Alaska Election process for a person attempting to get elected as a non-partisan.”
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Alaska State Representative (Democrat-Sitka) says, “Our present-day political climate demands a system that tears down the walls of closed primaries, and opens the process to increased candidate and voter participation. Ballot Measure 2 tears down those walls and opens up our elections process. I support it.”
Ballot Measure 2 would improve Alaska’s elections by creating a single unified primary ballot open to all voters, eliminating dark money in campaign financing, and instituting ranked choice voting in general elections. Together, these common-sense updates to Alaska’s elections will give voters more voice, more choice, and more power.