Village with highest voter increase will win $10,000 prize



The Native village with the highest increase in voter turnout will receive a prize of $10,000 for its school from the First Alaskans Institute. European-heritage settlements need not apply.

That is according to an Alaska Native who works at the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, although no announcement has been made by the First Alaskans Institute on the organization’s website.

Three members of the Walker Administration sit on the 10-member board of the Institute: Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, Al Kookesh, a special assistant to the governor, and Valerie Davison, commissioner of Health and Social Services. Elizabeth Medicine Crow is the CEO and president.

The second highest turnout will receive $5,000. Both checks would go to the local school.

“Youth in villages- tell your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to go vote on November 6!! Parents, get out and vote so your school kids may benefit from this money!! Even if you don’t have school kids, get out and vote for the sake of the school! Get the money!!” Donna Bach wrote on Facebook.

While paying for votes is illegal, there appears to be no law against incentivizing an entire community to vote, although paying a village, or funneling money to the village school is a new concept in “get out the vote” tactics.

If Mark Begich, who is running for governor, ran a raffle for a million dollars for registered Democrats, would the State allow it? Unlikely.

But where it gets into the stickiest territory is that Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott is on the board of trustees for First Alaskans Institute, while at the same time is in charge of the Division of Elections.

Mallott, a Democrat, has an obvious stake in his own re-election. He cannot assert with a straight face that higher turnout in villages won’t benefit him.

Rural areas are least likely to vote Republican and have the least familiarity with Republican Mike Dunleavy, who will be on the ballot as well.

First Alaskans Institute receives government grants as well as other grants.

The Institute is the prime sponsor of this week’s AFN Conferences’ Elders and Youth Conference at the Dena’ina Center, which is underway through Wednesday.

Donna Bach, who broadcast the news of the village voting incentive on Facebook, is the director of Alaska Native Affairs at Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, which is also under the direction of the Governor’s Office. The news has since been shared by more than 100 Facebook users.


  1. What a super way to side step the word, “Pandering”. Thank God that November 6th is right around the corner, can’t wait!!!!

  2. This is foul play. We need to bite this slime at the bud. Bleach it. There has got to be some way to quash this slimy play?

  3. The village with the highest increase in voter turnout, come red to ….? Does this mean the communities that Lt Gov Mallot allowed to vote twice in primaries will have to surpass 200% voter turnout? Sarcasm aside, this is clearly a partisan and disingenuous attempt to increase the vote.

  4. More double standard from the left. The ideology of relativism. Do you think Alaska Family Alliance, or Right to Life would get a pass if they offered such incentive?

  5. Walker promised to watch out for rural Alaska and Mallott was suppose to watch out for the interest of rural Alaska. But every Alaskan was played a fool, Walker started cutting rural programs first and Mallot went silent and hid. Now they are trying to buy the votes from the Alaskans they stole from, lied to and cheated. Demand better. Stop these two liars from stealing more from us.

  6. Sounds like they’re trying to entice them to vote for there team like it was an ANCSA corporation vote and if you vote for my slate we have trinkets for you, but you have to vote our ballot. Must be Mallot idea so sad to buy the vote. – There is a choice out there and it is Nick Begich (RIP) son Mark Begich for Governor and I know he’ll do better than U.S. Senator Murkowski. Who came here and was going to show Alaskan the Potomac two-step that he learn in DC after 22 years, and all he could do was the Juneau shuffle and all the stars were in alignment. But he got there Defined Benefit Plans that he and the Republican party went after. Do you think there is a happy workforce within the Troopers, Teachers, Ferry System and State workers and I won’t be voting for Dunleavy for he’ll gut the Public Schools in Alaska like he tried while he was in the Alaska Senate and the voters turn him down. And for the current Governor, he’ll get a No vote from me because of his Pipe Dream and I see No order of Pipe not even 400 miles of pipe to get it to Fairbanks.

  7. IMO no different than Dunleavy promising full permanent fund dividends as provided by law knowing full well that Alaska can’t provide that without taking from the earnings reserve, and that the legislature must appropriate the money. Many Alaskans don’t understand that the Governor does not hold the checkbook.

  8. Many rural folks know Mike Dunleavy and his wife’s family. If they don’t vote for him it will be based on his record and his idea to bring back boarding schools.

  9. Actually, Suzanne, the joke we have for a Supreme Court here would probably allow Mark Begich to run a $1 million raffle for Democrats. In 1994, they let “money-for-voting” scheme elect Tony Knowles. The Court recognized that the plan was at least smelly, but refused to do anything (grant a remedy for the wrong) about it.

  10. Wow!! This is as illegal as it gets! Hey Walker, why don’t you go to the bars and offer to pay for the drinks for votes!!

  11. Julie,
    Why would you want to compel apathetic people to vote? How does that make sense? Unless you’re the party promising free stuff at the expense of people who work.

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