Sitka Sentinel reports misinformation about Republican ballot - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Sitka Sentinel reports misinformation about Republican ballot

Sitka Sentinel Publisher Thad Poulson jokes with Congressman Don Young in the offices of the newspaper.

UPDATE: CORRECTION ISSUED BY NEWSPAPER

Editor’s note: The Monday edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel included a correction of the information that had been given to readers in the Friday edition of the newspaper. The original story is below:

A DIRECTIVE TO READERS THAT HURTS REPUBLICANS ON THE EVE OF THE PRIMARY ELECTION

The Daily Sitka Sentinel is telling its readers that only Republicans can vote on the Republican ballot on Tuesday, Aug. 21, but that any voter can vote the Democrat ballot.

That is incorrect.

The fact is that any voter who is not registered with another party can vote the Republican ballot, and it has been this way for more than 20 years.

The Sentinel is the only newspaper in the Baranof Island city of 8,800. The historic newspaper, publishing since 1940, is a family-owned and family-run operation, with publishers Thad Poulson and Sandy Poulson at the helm since 1969.

But although they have reported on hundreds of elections, they produced a story that might be expected from a rookie, but not from longtime Alaska publishers.

Could the newspaper’s report suppress votes in the Republican primary? In District 35, of the 15,107 voters, some 2,892 are registered Republican, but 9,043 are undeclared or nonpartisan. These are the people being told by their newspaper to pick the Democrat ballot.

Why would the newspaper publish such an inaccurate explanation of the voting process?

Thad Poulson has not remained politically neutral as a publisher. A registered nonpartisan, last month Poulson donated the maximum allowed — $500 — to the campaign of Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, who is unopposed on the Democrat primary ballot but will face a Republican in November.

In 2016, both Thad and Sandy Poulson donated $500 each to Kreiss-Tomkins.

Poulson has also donated in this election cycle to the campaigns of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, according to the Alaska Public Offices Commission:

On the Republican ballot for District 35, which also covers Petersburg, Angoon, Craig, Kasaan, and other small villages, two people are running in the Republican primary for a chance to oppose Kreiss-Tomkins in November: Richard Wein, who is a City Assemblyman in Sitka, and Kenny Karl Skaflestad, the former mayor of Hoonah.

Kenny Karl Skaflestad, running as a Republican for House District 35.

Richard Wein, running as a Republican for House District 35.

Tuckerman Babcock, the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party responded to the unfortunate story in the Sentinel: “That level of sloppy reporting is either a result of fake news from the publisher or willful ignorance. There is no excuse for it. All nonpartisan and undeclared voters are welcome to vote the Republican ballot across Alaska.”

For more information on voting, check out this story:

Voting hours and tips to have a good voting experience through Aug. 21

 

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Written by

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

  • Mistake? Hardly. Staff writer Klas Stolpe is originally from Petersburg and the Poulsons have been around since God made dirt and well known liberals. Very interesting how this slipped through the cracks. I’d like to see how the ballots are distributed at the polling places. I hope there are some watchdogs there to ensure the “volunteers” get it right. This primary has been jacked up enough. Just one more thing.

  • Isn’t that called collusion? Are Sitka newspapers interfering with unfairly with republican voters? Isn’t that illegal?

  • There is a letter to the editor section for the “Sentinel” You have to be a subscriber to use, but someone who was a subscriber could comment on this issue.

    It’s a daily paper.

    Republican ballot can be voted on by Republicans, undeclared or nonpartisan

  • This is the reason we STOP , taking this paper . Reporting ? Ha Ha , They have been this way for awhile .
    Sad , I took this in Junior College . Man this paper is sad , Just like when they reported about Charlotetville Va. . It was from the A P . I was down the road , 90 % of those people were bussed in . What lies they put out , just like that 90 year old Veteran , this paper said it was Mrs. Trump ! Don’t they have any checking ?

  • It’s quite easy to explain. He claims not to be a democrat but his actions pretty much show that to be untrue. Being a staunch liberal, a supporter of certain lifestyles, as well as not printing any letters to the editor that come from conservatives and/or Christian perspectives, this is the result you will get. One that prints false information seems to continually hide behind the “Freedom of the Press” banner without allowing anything that wouldn’t support his mindset. There is nothing new here. But one thing for sure, lt will be payday someday. Personally, I am glad that I don’t walk to their drumbeat. Truth will always be truth, and lies usually just increase in size and number.

  • A letter to the editor of this paper will not matter because it probably won’t get printed. For the few conservatives in Sitka – they know who they are – they know how to vote. For those that vote lib…. they will always vote lib. Hopefully the “super voters” know how to insist for the proper ballot. What a bunch of goons. And Klaus Stolpe certainly knows better. He should stick to writing the sports reports on the Sitka Wolves.

  • Yawn, big yawn
    Did you know, that it’s possible to disagree with both liberals and conservatives??? …………….
    It’s called thinking for yourself !!!
    ???

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