What petitions are being circulated for the 2024 election cycle?
One of the most well-known would unwind the Ballot Measure 2 proposal from 2020 that brought open primaries and ranked-choice voting to Alaska, and ushered in Rep. Mary Peltola in the process.
“An Act to get rid of the Open Primary System and Ranked-Choice General Election” is the work of a conservative group called Alaskans for Honest Elections.
That petition asks voters if they want to reconsider Ballot Measure 2 and reinstate a political party primary and general election process that is easily understood. The political parties of Alaska would select their candidates through a primary process, as they did before 2022. Voters would vote for their preferred candidate, and then each preferred candidate from each registered political party would appear on the general ballot.
Alaskans for Honest Elections has until Feb. 7, 2024 to file petition booklets with the state with at least 26,705 legitimate voter signatures on them.
Alaskans for Honest Elections has been the subject of a legal complaint filed by the Alaskans for Better Elections group, which is the one that brought Ballot Measure 2 forth in 2020, and which is fighting Alaskans for Honest Elections.
More recently, Alaskans for Honest Elections has filed its own complaint against Alaskans for Better Elections, claiming election violations. The details are at this Alaskans of Honest Elections website.
Another initiative petition circulating would “increase Alaska’s minimum wage, provide workers with paid sick leave, and protect workers from practices that violate their constitutional rights.”
The minimum wage would be boosted to $13 in 2025, $14 in 2026, and $15 in 2027. The current minimum wage in Alaska is $10.85. Sponsors of the petition include Rep. Genevieve Mina, a Democrat who lives in Anchorage, and Ed Flanagan of Juneau, who is chair of Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage.
The petition wants employers with fewer than 15 employees to grant a week of sick leave with pay to workers. It also prohibits companies from requiring workers to attend religious or political meetings as part of their work hours. There are numerous other provisions in the initiative language that are not included in the ballot summary.
The group has until Sept. 13, 2024 to collect the 26,705 signatures it needs to put the question on the 2024 general election ballot.
“An Act restoring campaign contribution limits for campaigns for state and local office” is a new initiative petition now circulating. Its sponsors, including Rep. Calvin Schrage of Anchorage, David Monson of Alaskans for Better Elections, and former Attorney General Bruce Botelho of Juneau, are trying to reinstate campaign contribution limits. Alaska’s draconian limits were deemed unconstitutional and right now, there are no limits on how much one can give to any local or state candidate’s campaign; federal candidates fall under federal rules.
The actual limits the group suggests are spelled out in the initiative at this link. The group has until Sept. 1, 2024 to collect the needed signatures.
A recent petition application filed over the summer has been denied: “An Act preventing the expenditure of public funds for any process by which political parties select their official nominees or endorsed candidates for office” is another initiative petition circulating. This petition is a way to support the much-maligned Ballot Measure 2, which bought Alaska open primaries. It basically would prevent the state from expending any money to assist the political process in political parties. How this plays out in practical terms is unclear, since parties already pay for their own conventions and presidential preference polls. It would almost certainly create havoc with the Division of Elections if the division was not allowed to even assist political parties, for instance, if they need help understanding the process. It was an initiative in search of a problem.
Sponsors were former Attorney General Bruce Botelho, former Sen. Lesil McGuire, and Juli Lucky of Alaskans for Better Elections, along with election attorney for Alaskans for Better Elections Scott Kendall.