YES ON 2
Our current political system isn’t working. It is tainted by secret “dark money” spending that seeks to influence elections without disclosing its true source and by an electoral process that disenfranchises independent voters and encourages polarization. Ballot Measure 2 would address these problems and make Alaska a better place to live and raise a family by giving more choice, more voice and more power to voters.
Between 2014 and 2018, political spending in Alaska skyrocketed from $3.8 million to over $14 million due to a flood of dark money after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. As Alaskans, we have a right to know who is trying to influence our elections. That’s why Ballot Measure 2 puts Alaskans and the issues we care about first.
Entrenched special interests too often have more influence over the outcome of our elections than voters. These well-funded groups often pay for political ads that are deliberately misleading, distorting the discussion of important public policy decisions in favor of those same special interests.
Then, political parties are able to game the system and keep voters out via “semi-closed” and confusing primaries where the choices are Republican or “everyone else,” but the Division of Elections calls everyone else a Democrat anyway. That’s not fair to Alaska’s independent voters, who currently make up over 60 percent of the electorate.
Our current closed primary system is increasing the political polarization dividing us and making compromise nearly impossible. Open primary elections increase competitiveness and give our elected leaders the freedom to be more independent, vote their conscience, and work together to get things done on behalf of the voters, not just special interest and party bosses. Open primaries will create a better Alaska, allowing legislators—regardless of party—to get to work representing voters’ interests.
Elections are supposed to be a competition of ideas, but far too few of our elections are actually competitive. Only 25 percent of the state legislative races were competitive in the 2018 general election—and 15 percent of those were uncontested. Most are decided in the primary, which is controlled by the parties despite being paid for with public dollars. Ranked choice voting increases diversity among candidates running for office and a 2016 study found that allowing voters to rank candidates increases turnout by 10 percentage points.
Political parties are about gaining and keeping power—not solving problems. Ballot Measure 2 empowers voters by giving us more choices and ensuring our voices are heard. These commonsense reforms will help us meet our state’s challenges and ensure we have leaders who care about finding solutions that work for all of us—not just their wealthy donors.
One thing is certain, our current system isn’t delivering results. Ballot Measure 2 provides every Alaskan with the opportunity to have their voice heard. It protects the integrity and fairness of the elections process by shining a light on dark money spending by special interests and ensures voters can choose their preferred candidate without worrying about electing the candidate they like the least.
- Learn more at: alaskansforbetterelections.com
Stacey Lucason is the Deputy Campaign Manager for Alaskans for Better Elections.