Mead Treadwell, Dick Randolph file court brief: Ballot Measure 2 is unconstitutional - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 25, 2022
HomePoliticsMead Treadwell, Dick Randolph file court brief: Ballot Measure 2 is unconstitutional

Mead Treadwell, Dick Randolph file court brief: Ballot Measure 2 is unconstitutional

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A filing today in court reinforces the argument that Ballot Measure 2, which remade Alaska’s election laws, is unconstitutional.

The brief was filed by former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former State Rep. Dick Randolph, who are represented by former Attorney General Craig Richards of Anchorage, and lawyer Daniel Suhr of the Liberty Justice Center of Chicago.

The appeal says that because Alaska is a younger state and its constitutional convention was more recent than other states, there are a plethora of documents available to understand what the authors of the Alaska Constitution meant when designing Alaska’s election system.

“…courts and counsel have a myriad of resources to know exactly what the delegates thought as they crafted the state’s founding charter. The journal, the staff reports, the committee drafts and notes, the models from other states, all are available in PDF at the click of a mouse,” the court filing says.

“Here, those reams of historical materials all point to a single definitive conclusion for this case: major portions of the recently adopted Initiative 2 transforming Alaska elections are entirely unconstitutional. The voters were closely split on whether the reforms adopted in Initiative 2 are good policy, but both the courts and the statutory initiative process ‘have no power to rewrite constitutional provisions no matter how clearly advantageous and publicly supported a policy may appear to be,'” the appellants say in their brief.

Last November, with millions of dollars spent to convince voters to upend the primary and general elections, Ballot Measure 2 passed, ushering in a voting method that eliminates the primary election in its traditional sense. The current August election is not a primary at all, but has all names on a single ballot regardless of party, with the top four vote-getters advancing to the General Election, where they battle it out in a ranked-choice ballot scenario. Such a scheme has never been tried before anywhere in America.

It’s not constitutional, Treadwell and Randolph argue.

“Courts must enforce the Constitution as written, and the people may only change it by going through all the safeguards of the amendment process,” their brief says.

“Initiative 2’s election procedures are incompatible with that that Constitution. Instant Runoff voting for the office of governor is incompatible with the plurality principle embedded in the state constitution, and Initiative 2’s failure as to the governor’s office cannot be severed from other offices. Similarly, the non-party primary is incompatible with the design of the governor-lieutenant governor ticket in the state constitution, and this failure cannot be severed from other offices,” it continues.

“The non-party primary also violates the freedom of association for political parties built into the structure of the state constitution’s design for elections. For these reasons, much of Initiative 2 must be enjoined as violative of the state constitution,” it says.

Article III, Section 8 of the Alaska Constitution requires that the governor be elected by a plurality of voters, not a majority as required by Initiative 2. That makes. BM-2’s instant-runoff voting for governor unconstitutional.

The appellants say that the meaning of the Constitution is clear: “‘The greatest number of votes’ means a plurality of votes. Black’s Law Dictionary 955 (6th ed. 1990) (‘when there are more than two competitors for the same office, the person who receives the greatest number of votes has a plurality, but he has not a majority unless he receives a greater number of votes than those cast for all his competitors combined.'”).

Treadwell and Randolph also argue that even if ranked-choice voting is considered a “method of voting,” it still must abide by other constitutional provisions.

“If the Alaska Legislature passed a law excluding a group of people from voting based on race, to pick an extreme example, that would clearly violate Article I, Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution (‘all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law’) even if it were a “’method of voting . . . prescribed by law.’ The point is that any new ‘method’ or ‘system’ of voting, like instant-runoff voting, must be consistent with the other provisions of the Constitution, including the plurality requirement of Art. III, Sec. 3,” they say.

The Constitution’s authors were cognizant that at times people are elected with a plurality and not a majority, and yet accepted this method for Alaska:

“This language requiring only a plurality to elect the governor reflected a conscious choice on the part of the delegates. In the pre- convention materials provided by the Public Administration Service, the delegates were advised: ‘In all states the governor is elected by popular vote. In most states the candidate receiving the highest number of votes is elected, even if that is less than the majority of the total vote. Under the two-party system, plurality elections usually give the same results as a majority requirement. But with three or more candidates, the election might go to one receiving less than an absolute majority, and a few states have special provisions for such a contingency.'”

Treadwell and Randolph are entering the case with an amicus brief; the original case was brought by Scott Kohlhass, a libertarian who has run for office several times.

State and intervener briefs are due Dec. 6, and the case is scheduled for oral arguments on Jan. 18. The Treadwell-Randolph amicus brief in its entirety:

Read the entire argument here:

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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

  • Doing the job the Stand Small afraid to lose Dunleavy regime should be doing, but alas are too frightened to come out their safe spaces to try.

  • Good.

  • I’m surprised RINO Mead Treadwell would be arguing against this. It’s designed to help liberals like him

  • Wonderful. Thank you!

  • Oh yah and can someone remind Porcaro that if it fact he is sooo intelligent that people who call into his radio program need to be reprimanded by him for insulting his “intelligence “.! God I would hate to be his wife or children.

    • Agreed. If he is so intelligent he’d know what happened in Germany starting the 15 yrs before the camps.

  • Who’s Dick Howard? This may be a very interesting case.

  • Actually, the two party monopoly in America appears unconstitutional to me….

  • One person, one vote. Period.

    • Yes it should be, but when the Election was over, 8,000+ Ballots were counted than we had registered voters and no one did anything to address that! Voter Integrity??? Right!

  • Who actually wrote the Alaska Constitution? Certainly it wasn’t the delegation that convened at Constitutional Hall at UAF in the late 50’s. I suppose we could try channeling Jack Coghill to learn the truth. I suspect that it was probably written by a couple of East Coast lawyers who represented the interests of Washington DC, and not Alaskans.
    As for BM2 itself, the vote tally favoring the “yeas” came late when absentee ballots were still being counted. The measure had election fraud written all over it, with Scott Kendall’s fingerprints imbedded in the late ballots.

    • The term “model constitution” is often thrown around with respect to Alaska’s constitution. Does “model” refer to “ideal” or “prototype”? This is seldom if ever asked because there’s strong evidence of the latter. New Jersey held a constitutional convention in 1948 at Rutgers University. This influenced the setting of Alaska’s constitutional convention seven years later. In between, a model (prototype) constitution was developed by an interest group in 1950 (the same year Hawaii held its constitutional convention) based on the New Jersey experience. Bypassing conventional narratives and piecing together seldom-referenced sources may prove illuminating.

      • Good comment, Sean. It would be interesting to know “which model” truly represents Alaska’s constitution. Maybe Dick Randolph knows….?

        • This document provides some excellent historical context that addresses Sean’s question. Highly recommend (See p. 1-6)

          “http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/docs/pdf/citizens_guide.pdf”

        • As Long as we stick too the basic constitution of America? Each state is different! but what makes us different? and or? rightous, too do so?

          We, can’t be judge or jury!

    • One thing for sure. Scott Kendall’s father-in-law, Luke Hopkins, didn’t teach him how to commit election fraud. Hopkins never found the flat surface side of a nail. And he graduated from UAF as a carpenter.

  • Excellent. Comes down to whether our leftist judiciary will actually do their job, or continue to play partisan politics. I’m guessing the latter.. I give us about a 10% chance, but that’s still a chance. I’m thankful these two teamed up. Good on them both.

  • Yeah!! About time Dunleavey has been a disappointment and the Alaska Republican Party has been a major disappointment. Finally somebody’s willing to step up and fight for our rights which were stolen on November 3. Go back to Paper ballots in Alaska. One person one vote.

  • Finally. Is there a way to donate?

  • Glad this is happening, but what took them so long?

  • Way to go, Scott. Thank you for fighting this nonsense. We need to win this before the next election kicks in.

  • THANK YOU!!!!!!! Mead Treadwell and Dick Randolph!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Good.

  • Excellent!

  • I can’t believe so many people were dumb enough to vote in favor of this scheme. If you don’t understand the issue, leave it blank.

    Now someone has to fight to try and correct it.

    • Why I hate Ballot Measures, uneducated voters should not be setting the precedent. Though frustrating to watch most of the time, these decisions should be left to the legislators. The uneducated voters were fooled by the media (commercials in support) on what Ballot Measure 2 actually was.

  • I guess? question is? Do you want the good old guys of the days that made Alaska the way it is?
    with Alaska Statues? or do you want the real hurt of changing the Alaskans rules?
    Hence! Alaskans????

    Question Being!? What do you want too give up?? as being a Alaskan??? ( I’m sorry! but we all have too give up something because of the 1.2 TRILLION Dollars)

    Self Suffient? feed family? salmon, moose, bear and then Deer?

    OIL? Feeds Family, with jobs? That gives you monies too support that! Hunting and fishing hobby ){ Lets face it, we all not There?)

    I could continue on forever!

    You all traded a life and movements!

    • Perhaps you might get your comments proof read to help formulate your thoughts. We would like to understand what’s on your mind.

  • Finally, this is being contested. I have my doubts that this measure actually passed. I’d like a forensic audit of Alaska‘a 2020 election. Without a signature required on all mail-in ballots, how do we know if all the ballots were legal? There has been such a tremendous push from Outside groups to change Alaska, including this ballot measure. Why?

    NC, try harder to write understandable English with proper punctuation. It’s impossible to decipher your word salad.

  • No matter what was done at the convention or how rational the Treadwell / Randolph arguments are, the Alaska Supreme Court will do what it wants with this lawsuit. And given the liberal interpretations and politically motivated decisions it has made during the past, it is highly unlikely that this lawsuit will be successful.

    Instead of having their law clerks research the law and inform them, the Justices each choose who they want to win and then set the law clerks off to find cases that support their biased decisions. And the political bias they have clearly favors the liberal party. And there is not a thing that can be done to change it. These jurists are essentially appointed by the liberal bar association. And that is because the Judicial council submits only liberal prospects to the Governor to pick from.

    It is a corrupt system.

  • Conservatives are constitutional textualists until the text does not meet their requirements

    • You are engaging in classic radical leftist projection again, Frank.
      It’s quite a bad habit with you/them.

    • Constitutional textualism benefits us all. We must endeavor to forever practice this art.

  • Good luck finding a fair judge for this case. And if it ends up in the AK “supreme” court, well…

  • This is fantastic news! Can the public join in on this? We need to defeat Measure 2, it will be used to steal elections.

  • Great, thanks.

  • It does not say “plurality”anywhere in the AK Constitution. Why are Treadwell and Randolph making things up? If the founders wanted a plurality they would have said it. Learn to read. Shameful

  • Vote yes next year for the constitutional convention.

    • Feel that White power slipping through your fingers in the 21st century? Then, you know what to do! Run one, run all — threatened White people and their BIPOC rump kissers! Run and vote next year for an Alaska Constitutional Convention. Every devoted White and “Other” right-wing extremist would re-write the U.S. Constitution if it were possible. Unfortunately, it’s not. And darn those Framers – they made the process for calling a constitutional convention for amending the Constitution so ploddingly cumbersome, and the amendment ratification requirement so high– well, that won’t happen anytime soon.

      So, the Alaska Constitution’s all we’ve got!

    • Given the radical leftists in charge of the state legislature I fear that a constitutional convention would not end up the way you think it would. Green New Deal, mail in balloting, wealth redistribution will be somehow slipped in, and we would be stuck with it

  • and Kevin Meyer who should be leading the charge, is nowhere to be found…still! Shame on him!

  • We all need to be in that courtroom on January 18.

  • Thank goodness someone had the ability to hire an attorney to contest this bogus election process. Thank you!

  • Ah, such a waste of time and energy. It’s only an amicus brief (with “amicus” misspelled, btw!)

    Treadwell and Randolph have absolutely nothing new to offer the AK Supremes. The issue at hand isn’t what THRESHOLD requirement must be met (plurality vs majority), but the METHOD of balloting (rank choice voting vs single choice voting) used. Perhaps they just wanted their two cents added: “for the cause.”

    The drafters of Ballot Measure 2 went to the woodshed, took jurisprudential lessons learned from Maine, and drafted a ballot measure that fully comports with the Alaska Constitution.

  • Go to a Webster’s 1828 or like a 4th edition Black magic spelling book and define the word ‘Person’… I’m not one and neither are you, stop accepting this corruption over bastardized language…. Dick Randolph and mead Treadwell would do good to take a lesson in real Law and language instead of playing the ‘legal=corporate rules not LAW’. Look the entomology of words easily online and realize how ALL these a-torners (look up torn) have bamboozled the children of GOD that have followed not the LAW… Better wake up. America was never free, it is government-corporation ran currently by UN=not LAW… Understand what is being said to your faces….
    Wanna learn more, look up Corporation Nation and Christian Remedy in Law both on YT… There is real, proven remedy, but it’s not by joining their STATE of InsAniTy, but leaving it…
    Blessed are the peacemakers

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