TO ABANDON THEIR HISTORIC CAUCUS SYSTEM
The Alaska Democratic Party is proposing its most significant change to its presidential nominating system in decades. After a disastrous 2016, when most Alaska Democrats wanted Bernie Sanders for president, and yet the party ended up backing Hillary Clinton, the party is doing an overhaul. There were just too many disenchanted Democrats.
Caucuses by Democrats are participated in by a small percentage of voters. They typically take place in gymnasiums or large meeting facilities around the state, and people move from one side of a room to another to choose which candidate they are backing for the Democratic nomination. There’s a lot of lobbying that goes on in the process.
The Republicans conduct a presidential preference poll, conducting what is similar to an in-person election. Registered Republicans can vote and people cast ballots in boxes at local centers, and then go about their day. It’s not perfect but it allows broader participation. It is all run by volunteers, with oversight from the Republican National Committee.
Democrats are considering taking it a step further, including doing electronic ballot submission, absentee voting and progressive voting, where people rank their preferences. They would also have in-person voting centers across the state.
The party must submit its final plan to the Democratic National Committee and is seeking input from Democrats before doing so.
The draft rules for the Democrats’ primary indicates it would be a highly organized and complicated process that would be managed by volunteers, including these parameters:
- Presidential candidates would file with the Alaska Democratic Party by Jan. 24, 2020.
- A mailing will be sent to every registered Democrat in Alaska on Feb. 19, 2020 explaining how to cast a ballot by electronic submission, absentee, and in person voting. Information will be made available on the state party website, Facebook page and via email beginning Feb. 19.
- Electronic voting will begin on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 and will close on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Absentee Ballots must be postmarked by March 24 in order to be counted.
Primary day voting centers would be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 4 for in person voting in at least the following areas:
- Municipality of Anchorage
- Fairbanks/North Star Borough
- City and Borough of Juneau
- Mat-Su Borough
- Kenai Peninsula Borough
Each Voting Center will process same day voter registration and changes in party affiliation. Voting Centers will use paper ballots and be staffed by trained volunteers working with local Democratic Party leadership in each area.
- Additional communities and exact locations must be approved by the ADP Executive Committee by Oct. 2, 2019.
- Results of the electronic voting, absentee voting, and in-person will be made publicly available no later than 11:30 p.m. AKDT, April 4, 2020, on the Alaska Democratic Party website.
- Each House District will hold a House District Caucus on Saturday, April 18, 2020 to elect House District officers and delegates representing the house district to the 2020 State Party Convention.
- Alaska Democratic Party State Convention will be held in Fairbanks May 15-17, 2020. National Delegates will be apportioned based on the results of the April 4 Party-Run Primary. Delegates elected to the State Convention will select the Delegates to the DNC Convention.