Lawsuit over 'Better Elections' petition filed - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 14, 2019
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Lawsuit over ‘Better Elections’ petition filed

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson has advised the Division of Elections to hold off distributing petition booklets for the Better Elections group, which is trying to bring ranked voting and jungle (no-party) primaries to the state of Alaska.

A lawsuit was filed today by Harry Young Jr., saying the state violated Article 11, Section 3 of the Alaska Constitution by allowing the group to collect signatures even though the ballot question has not been certified.

The Alaska Constitution says, “After certification of the application, a petition containing a summary of the subject matter shall be prepared by the lieutenant governor for circulation by the sponsors. If signed by qualified voters who are equal in number to at least ten per cent of those who voted in the preceding general election, who are resident in at least three-fourths of the house districts of the State, and who, in each of those house districts, are equal in number to at least seven percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in the house district, it may be filed with the lieutenant governor.”

The word “After,” describes a sequence — and by allowing the Better Elections group to collect signatures in petition books before the certification, the State of Alaska has violated the prescribed order of business for ballot initiatives.

“The Constitution does not vest the Lt. Governor, nor the Division of Elections, with the discretion to print ballot initiative petitions prior to certification by the Lt. Governor,” the complaint reads. “The sequence of events is clearly and unequivocally dictated by the plain language of the constitution.”

Young, of Eagle River, is a 30-year resident of Alaska and a precinct leader for the Alaska Republican Party. He is represented by lawyers Lee Baxter and Matt Singer.

[Read: Lieutenant governor says no to radical election initiative]

The petition booklets are already printed. The complaint asks for an immediate temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the Division of Elections from releasing the petition booklets until this case is resolved in court.

A court status hearing set for September 19, 2019 at noon. It will be in front of Judge Yvonne Lamoureux — the same judge who originally approved the out-of-sequence signature gathering stipulation.

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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

  • So there is a lawsuit being heard by the judge who ordered the constitution be violated, anybody else see a conflict here? The judge made an unconstitutional order, that is the problem. Well and the unconstitutional proposed ballot measure.

    • Big time conflict of interest!!

  • This will be an interesting decision, as Yvonne Lamoureux allowed this to begin with. One would assume she is familiar with our constitution, and knows of the sequencing word “after”.
    Will she say: “Ooops, sorry, I got it wrong the first go around”

    If she is indeed wrong, I hope she has the strength and character to admit it.

  • From Cornell Law School:

    Each justice or judge of the United States shall take the following oath or affirmation before performing the duties of his office: “I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

    (June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 907; Pub. L. 101–650, title IV, § 404, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5124.)

    Let’s hope Lamoureaux takes her oath seriously and understands the ramifications of FairVote.org, the organization with tendrils leading directly back to mega-donors tied to the express purpose of the abolition of the Electoral College. Let’s hope that she actually reads these posts if she doesn’t know.

  • If she doesn’t follow this Oath, she should be immediately removed from Office because that is the reason for any Oath. Just read what is said about Oaths. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

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