Alaska Democrats may dramatically change to primary balloting - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, December 9, 2019
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Alaska Democrats may dramatically change to primary balloting

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
  • Dillingham
  • Bethel
  • Nome
  • Kotzebue

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.

[Read the Democrats’ new plan for choosing delegates for the 2020 Democratic National Convention]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • This is a great idea. Elections are a way party operatives can create the impression that the votes of the unwashed masses actually matter.

  • I can’t believe the labor unions, environmental groups and identity politics groups would give up their control over the results. The nominee must be a woman, minority or, preferably both. Wouldn’t you say?

    Those that hold power will figure a way they can have some kind of veto power.

    I am “all in” for BETO. He is so hip I can hardly control myself. Open borders, eating dirt, skateboarder. He waves his arms so much he almost takes flight. What more could we ask for?

  • I find it very strange that a political party that calls itself “democratic” would exclude any person that would want to take part in their election process, shouldn’t they let everyone have a say? What if you are an undocumented immigrant or refugee, I thought that the Democratic Party was the party of inclusion not exclusion. If I, as a non-registered democrat, receive a wayward ballot can I submit it the way that mail in ballots are currently sent out and received, or do the Democrats only want secure voting for their chosen candidates and a completely un-secure voting method for the general elections?

  • I’m laughing my ass off! 20 days to do electronic voting? Progressive voting? Really? What’s next? Since the Democrats are Socialist, one person on the ballot, just like Cuba? Bernie would feel really comfortable with that since he worships Fidel!

  • Didn’t they have a primary and then dump the winners to appoint a Republican slash independent? And what did Byron do?

    • The dish ran away with the spoon……

  • “Registered Republicans and those without a party can vote and people cast ballots in boxes at local centers, and then go about their day. “
    Please don’t tell the U’s and N’s that they can vote for the Republican candidate without first registering as a Republican. It’s not true. Unlike Republican primaries in Alaska, where those without a party may participate, a voter must register as a Republican to participate in the presidential preference poll. Registration on the spot is allowed, and the voter can reregister as desired the next day. Still, even with those minimal requirements, in 2016 there were at least two voters who left our polling place in a huff rather than register as Republican to pick the Republican candidate. Our volunteers don’t need to hear that “Must Read Alaska said I could vote without being a registered Republican.” Please correct the error. Thanks!

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