Scott Ogan: Groundhog Day, another good election bill stripped by a Democrat in committee

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Anthony Quintano from Mount Laurel, Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog Day 2022 Pennsylvania, via Wikipedia, Creative Commons usage.

By SCOTT OGAN

You remember the movie “Groundhog Day,” where the main character wakes up to the same daily routine over and over. Welcome to Groundhog Day in Juneau.

Our Democrat-controlled Senate is once again killing popular election reform — this time by attempting to strip Rep. Sarah Vance’s election reform bill, House Bill 129, of its many popular provisions and to instead insert a kill-pill — same-day voter registration.   

This is called “bill stripping,” and is being performed on HB 129 by Sen. Scott Kawasaki, Democrat from Fairbanks and chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee. 

Kawasaki did the same thing in 2022 to an election reform bill authored by Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Shower, who intercepted his own Senate Bill 39 and said “no” to political manipulation of the public trust.

The vast majority of Alaskans do not believe same-day voter registration is necessary or even desirable in order to secure our basic freedoms and fair elections. In fact, most people believe such a provision encourages manipulation and fraud by any bad actor or party. 

The main advocates for same-day voter registration are those trying to undermine democracy. It’s more likely that any person not properly registered to vote on the day of an election in not civically engaged.  

There is nothing that makes our already weak election statutes more vulnerable to fraud than allowing anyone — legal citizen or not — to show up to the polls and register that same day to vote by signing a meaningless statement that they have lived in the district for 30 days, even without requiring a valid government ID or evidence of residency, then receive a ballot.

Grandstanding Democrats love to talk about ensuring everyone has the right to vote, and yet they fail to support reasonable safeguards against voting by those who do not have the right to vote. Nowhere is the undemocratic imposition of power over the will and interests of the people more present than in these last days of the legislative session.     

There is a valid public-interest reason Alaska statutes require a voter to be a 30-day resident of a district before they can vote and to register before the 30-day deadline.  It’s to disallow nefarious actors from suddenly showing up in districts where there are tight races and to claim to have moved there in the last 30 days so they can tip the scales in their candidate’s or party’s favor. With the weak provisions inserted into the latest version of the bill, there are no strong personal identification requirements and no language about it being a crime to misrepresent the date someone moved into a district.  

Kawasaki’s bill stripping makes it extremely easy to cheat. 

While Republicans favor tighter laws and rules securing our voting rights, Democrats seem to favor fewer rules, or rules that are easily bent or broken with no consequence. With Kawasaki’s stripping of Vance’s popular House bill, which passed 33-6 in the House, we see how sound, bi-partisan election law reform becomes self-serving — an effort to favor one party over another. In our Democat-led Senate, the ends justify any means necessary to win.  

This latest Groundhog Day version of election rigging is the Holy Grail for the Biden agenda to make Alaska poor again. 

I’m willing to bet that the complicit Republicans in the Democratic-controlled Senate will not even read the bill, let alone poll their constituents. Their priorities will be on power and money: getting money for their district and getting their pet bills passed.  It’s that point in the session where public trust gives way to the private trough. 

Biden’s no-border policy exists for a single reason: to flood our country with tens of millions of illegal aliens who will be steered to states with loose election laws — election laws like Sen. Kawasaki wants that allow same day registration with no proof of residency or citizenship.  

Kawasaki’s amendment is part of a nationwide agenda by Democrats to “stack the deck” in their favor to assure that their candidates get elected.  

Apparently, reason and public trust do not prevail with Sen. Kawasaki. Rep. Vance now has only one option: Kill her hard-earned election bill, like Sen. Shower had to do. And then, send a copy of the bill to every voter in Kawasaki’s district. 

Scott Ogan served as a legislator in the Alaska House and Senate and writes for Must Read Alaska.

23 COMMENTS

  1. The main advocates for same-day voter registration are those trying to undermine democracy. It’s more likely that any person not properly registered to vote on the day of an election in not civically engaged. This statement right here is how MAGA came to power. All they see is the shiny red hat and MAGA endorsed candidate. They never were engaged before, and will fade away upon the passing of their cult leader.

    • If the MAGA folks are using election reform to benefit themselves and their ideals, why are you not fighting tooth and nail against these reforms?

    • AfF, wait, what? You said, “The main advocates for same-day voter registration are those trying to undermine democracy.” I was going to agree with you on this point; BUT, then you blamed it on over 80% of the voting population in this country! The ones killing “democracy” are the same ones bringing in millions of illegal aliens and trying to get it set up for those illegal aliens to vote. You contradict yourself bigly.

  2. I have not seen any polling that verifies “The vast majority of Alaskans do not believe same-day voter registration is necessary” I do recall Senator Ogan resigning instead of being recalled for malfeasance. Why would anyone trust what Ogan has to say?

  3. If Democrats cared about protecting everyones right to vote, they would end union friendly “vote by mail” schemes after Anchorage threw away 30,000 to 40,000 voters ballots.

    That’s a huge number and it just shows that they will say/do anything to take power.

  4. “Kawasaki stripping” “sounds like more fun. Scott’s election is just months away and he can smell defeat. Momma’s Boy can head back to Fairbanks and leave the heavy lifting to a much more capable ……….woman.

  5. Democrats are certainly very good at coming up with ways to be sure that fraudulent voting can take place. This is just more evidence to back up the claims.

      • Ginny: From Google. “lack of fitness to serve in public office, incompetence and neglect of duty,” “alleged promotion of Evergreen in legislative committees and misstatement of facts among them — as reasons he should be recalled.”

  6. IF the DOL would release the 110 page with NO redactions about election integrity the public would most likely help in cleaning up the voter rolls and other problems. Is Commissioner Tshibaka’s 110 page report a confidential document? If no, why can’t the public have a copy of the report with NO redactions?

    SB 39 / 32-LS0204\N Sponsor Statement by Senator Shower states that he began working on election issues in 2018… Senator Shower did his homework before sponsoring SB 39.

    Every Alaskan should want better government and accountability. Write your Senator and Representative and ask them why they don’t support and vote in favor of Judicial Reform and better Elections.

    Want transparency? Want better government? Talk and write to your Senators and Representatives.

    Thank you Scott for this article and thank you Senator Shower for Sponsoring SB 39.

  7. Rep. Vance, are you related to Jeffery Vance, Anchorage Attorney and Leon Vance, Juneau Attorney?

    Scot(t) (Did you add a “t” to your first name after your left Alaska Senate? You have to go to court to have an official name change.), you, Senator Shower, and I discussed at length a couple of years ago Missouri Court Plan as below:

    Please review the manipulation of the “Missouri Court Plan” under which my father, Judge James F. Nangle (deceased), State of Missouri Circuit Court, St. Louis, was on the bench there for 45 years. Missouri Constitution Article V 25(c)(1) states:”Tenure of judges . . . Each judge appointed pursuant to the provisions of section 25 (a)-(g) shall hold office for a term ending December thirty-first following the next general election after the expiration of twelve months in office.”

    In other words, Missouri judges must stand for retention in the next election after twelve months in office.

    By contrast, the rule in Alaska reads:

    • Alaska Supreme Court justices (“Retention elections . . . are held at the first general election more than three years after appointment and every ten years thereafter”);

    • Alaska Court of Appeals judges (“Retention elections . . . are held at the first general election more than three years after appointment and every eight years thereafter”);

    • Alaska Superior Court judges (Retention elections. . . are held at the first general election more than three years after appointment and every six years thereafter”);

    • Alaska District Court judges (Retention elections . . . are held at the first general election more than two years after appointment and very four years thereafter”)

    Alaskaʼs rule allows probably double the time prior to retention as compared to “Missouri Court Plan.” The result is that some Alaska justices/judges may be in office almost five years, and essentially vest for retirement, before facing voters.

    Is this “public service” or “self service?” Talk about “golden parachute” retirements. Such a deal! It is no wonder that Alaska attorneys are applying in droves for Alaska Bench.

    None of you have very much credibility after you have let Alaska Bench and Bar continue without any oversight.

    On November 7, 2023 Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Oregon will no longer require law school graduates to take Oregon Bar Exam. There will be options. This month in May 2024 Oregon Bar Association implemented this decision. Washington Supreme Court ruled on March 15, 2024 that Washington State will no longer require law school graduates to take Washington Bar Exam. The Washington State Bar Association will implement the changes.

    We are all worried about fair Alaska Elections but elections are unimportant compared to fair Alaska law licensure.

    Do you support Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 21 introduced by Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson 2/24/20 “Proposing amendments to the Constitution of State of Alaska relating to the office of attorney general” ‘https://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/31?Root=SJR%2021%20Elvi%20Gray-Jackson%202/24/20 ? This must pass Alaska Legislature immediately but I do not see it happening until we have a new Alaska Legislature on January 21, 2025.
    Please let me know about ‘[email protected].

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