Friday, June 13, 2008

Alaska 2008 State Primary Election: Ballot Measures

Updated August 1st, 2008 with links to official statements of support and opposition to each Ballot Measure. I've also changed my recommendation on Ballot Measure Two after learning new information which showed that a Yes vote would NOT achieve the goals I consider in the best interest of Alaska.

Click HERE to view real-time election results after 9 P.M. Alaska time. Also liveblogged by the Anchorage Daily News HERE.

The Alaska Division of Elections has posted its finalized election guide for the August 26th, 2008 Primary Election; paper copies are being mailed to each household statewide. This includes the list of four Ballot Measures to be decided, which are posted HERE. They will be listed on all three ballots offered to voters, as follows:

(1). A-D-L Candidate Ballot with Ballot Measures: Ballot with Alaskan Independence, Democratic, Libertarian Candidates and Ballot Measures. (Any voter may vote this ballot)

(2). Republican Candidate Ballot with Ballot Measures: Ballot with Republican Candidates and Ballot Measures. (Voters registered as Republican, Non-Partisan, or Undeclared may vote this ballot)

(3). Ballot Measures Ballot: Ballot with Ballot Measures only (no candidates). (Any voter may vote this ballot)

Voter registration deadline for this election is July 27th, 2008. See the main page of the Alaska Division of Elections website for links on how and where to register. You will also find the list of candidates for office on the site. For additional convenience, I've set up a page showing all Alaskan candidates for Federal office along with their campaign websites and, where available, links to their voting records and interest group ratings.

The Alaska Division of Elections customarily provides support and opposition statements for each ballot measure from the responsible parties, to which links are now provided below. I have also posted my own recommendations, and, where available, links to professional advocates on both sides of the issue.

Ballot Measure No. 1: 05GAM2 - Establishing Alaska Gaming Commission

This initiative would create a seven-member gaming commission in the state Department of Revenue, and change gaming laws. The commission would employ a director, make contracts, adopt regulations, investigate and enforce gaming laws. The commission would have authority to allow games of chance, such as lotteries and casino games, in the future. It could join other states in multi-state gaming. The director would supervise gaming activities, and enforce charitable gaming laws. The initiative would make certain acts related to gaming a felony. Gaming allowed by the new law would be exempted from the criminal prohibition against gambling.

- Full 24-page Text of 05GAM2 Initiative
- Statement in Support of 05GAM2 Initiative, authored by Darwin A. Biwer, Alaskans for Gaming Reform.
- Statement in Opposition to 05GAM2 Initiative, co-authored by Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council and Debbie Joslin of Eagle Forum Alaska.

Recommendation: At this time, I still have no personal recommendation. This measure merely authorizes a centralized gaming commission and should not be viewed as an inevitable step towards legalized gambling. Vote your conscience on this one.

Ballot Measure No. 2: 05HUNT - Bill Amending Same Day Airborne Shooting

This bill amends current law banning same-day airborne shooting to include grizzly bears. The bill permits the Board of Game to allow a predator program for wolves and grizzly bears if the Commissioner of Fish and Game finds an emergency, where wolves or grizzly bears in an area are causing a decline in prey. Only employees of the Department of Fish and Game could take part in the program. Only the minimum number of wolves or grizzly bears needed to stop the emergency could be removed.

Read about Alaska's present wolf control policy HERE.

- Full one-page Text of 05HUNT Initiative
- Statement in Support of 05HUNT Initiative, authored by Joel Bennett.
- Statement in Opposition to 05HUNT Initiative, authored by Dr. Wayne Regelin, former commissioner of fish & game.

Recommendation: After reviewing the text of the Ballot Measure, as well as the Pro and Con statements, I find the description of the measure to be misleading. It makes it appear as if it is liberalizing same-day airborne shooting. This is NOT the case. Instead, passage of this measure would restrict the operation only to Fish & Game employees, resulting in a slower response to a wildlife contingency. Rejecting this measure would permit certified civilian agents of Fish & Game to continue using airborne hunting very selectively to ensure a faster response to a wildlife contingency. As a result, I now recommend a No vote. Thanks to the two commenters in this post who brought this problem to my attention.

Ballot Measure No. 3: 07CASE - Bill Providing For Public Funding In Campaigns

This bill creates a voluntary program of public funding for state election campaigns. To qualify, candidates must collect a certain number of signatures and $5 campaign contributions from voters in the area in which the candidate is running for office. Qualified candidates that agree to limits for campaign fundraising and spending may receive campaign funding from the State of Alaska based on the office sought. A qualified candidate may receive state matching funds if the candidate is opposed by a candidate that does not take part in the program.

- Full 24-page Text of 07CASE Initiative
- Statement in Support of 07CASE Initiative, authored by Tim June, Alaskans for Clean Elections
- Statement in Opposition to 07CASE Initiative , authored by Dick Randolph, Committee to Stop Corruption.

Recommendation: Vote No. This measure would create a duplicate bureaucracy and is quite complex. See this post where I discuss the deficiencies of this measure in greater detail. And see this post where I discuss Arizona's problems with a similar initiative. On the other hand, you can read the Alaskans For Clean Elections justification for the measure HERE.

Ballot Measure No. 4: 07WTR3 - Bill Providing For Regulation Of Water Quality

This bill imposes two water quality standards on new large scale metallic mineral mining operations in Alaska. The first standard does not allow such a mining operation to release into water a toxic pollutant that will adversely affect human health or the life cycle of salmon. The second standard does not allow such a mining operation to store mining wastes and tailings that could release sulfuric acid, other acids, dissolved metals or other toxic pollutants that could adversely affect water that is used by humans or by salmon. The bill defines a large scale metallic mineral mining operation to mean a metallic mineral mining operation that is in excess of 640 acres in size. The bill defines toxic pollutants to include substances that will cause death and disease in humans and fish, and includes a list of substances identified as toxic pollutants under federal law.
- Read the Alaskans Against The Mining Shutdown's objections to this measure HERE.
- Read the Renewable Resources Coalition's justification for this measure HERE.
(Note: The Fairbanks Superior Court decision stated that this initiative is proper and will appear on the 2008 Primary Election. Although this decision is currently being appealed, it still made the cut.)

- Full four-page Text of 07WTR3 Initiative
- Statement in Support of 07WTR3 Initiative
- Statement in Opposition to 07WTR3 Initiative

Recommendation: Vote No. This measure poses too much of a potential threat to the mining industry. We need a strong, viable mining industry to diversify the economy, particularly in Bush Alaska. Mining will help Bush Alaska pay its own way much more.


  1. Please consider voting NO on ballot measure 2 and allow what is working in the GMU's to continue where there is a biological emergency. Alaskan citizens must go through a process to participate in the program and it is at no cost to the State of Alaska. When the State did exactly what ballot measure 2 purports, the State's Governor and Administration halted the program due to scrutiny and public emotionalism. It draws heavy scrutiny. What needs to be remembered is that our calves are surviving better with this citizen program because of local ownership of wildlife management. Please allow what is working to work. Vote NO.

  2. Why would one want to vote NO on ballet measure 4.
    I believe any toxic wastes dumped by the gallons should NOT be put in the water.
    So what if it is a little more expensive for the mining companies to find an alternative way of dealing with their waste and biproducts. I'd rather have clean water and good salmon to catch.

    Research has shown that it does not affect the mining companies. They just do not wish to spend money and energy disposing of waste the proper ways. That is the sole reason why they are against this measure.

  3. Please re-examine your look at Ballot Measure 2. It is a thinly veiled attack against current game management, actually REMOVING the ability for proper management. Please look at the text of the initiative, as it does not make it easier to control predators. It makes it MUCH more difficult and limits it to ONLY Fish & Game members.

  4. Thank you Donne Fleagle and Anonymous 10:31 AM for bringing the problem with BM #2 to my attention. The description of BM #2 is misleading; it makes it look like the measure is liberalizing requirements. The Pro and Con statements, which weren't available to me until August 1st, verify your claims about BM-2. Consequently, I now recommend a No vote.

    These environmentalist extremists sure are sneaky.

  5. this is a response to the above comment on measure 4. This person obviously does not understand the misleading documents being put out in favor of act 4. Mining is Alaska! Mining is essential to our continued economic success. Mining is regulated. Water quality standards are the strictest they have ever been. The "waste" water mines put out currently is cleaner than most of the surrounding water. If measure 4 passes the standards imposed will be so steep YOU wouldn't be able to take a glass of water from your faucet and pour it into the ocean without breaking the law. Measure 4 is misleading. Measure 4 has nothing to do with fish or clean water. These are marketing strategies being used by the measures OUT OF STATE architects to mislead alaskans. Measure 4 will close mines. Measure 4 will cut jobs.

    Even Greenscreek in Juneau on Admiralty Island will shut down when it comes time to renew it's permits. Coeur Alaska's Kensington Mine will never start operating.

    Vote no on 4. Protect Alaska jobs. Protect Alaska mining. Protect our future.

    NO ON 4

  6. Definately voting No on 2, now that I've had the material in front of me to read. Also going to vote no on 4. Its crazy talk. I've been in mining for 22 years and have seen nothing but continued improvement in our waste processes. Nick H makes some good points, hopefully we won't see too many people confused when they read the BM. Anyone who wants to see alaska choked to death should vote yes on 4. Otherwise, anyone with half a head on their shoulders and just as much common sense will vote no.

    Only a fool would vote Yes on 4

  7. It seems like the major hinge on this ballot is not jobs but waste management, and water quality. Of course no one wants to vote against jobs. I wonder what these jobs will cost in quality of life for people involved within the industry. But we do want to look out for the interest of our children and the future and set the example on how this earth should be taken care of. I am all for the jobs and production of minerals but not at the cost of improper waste management.

    In addition there is allot about the chemistry and geology of mining that I am not knowledgeable about.

  8. I really do love elections in such