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a trip to Alaska

Going To Alaska, the 49th State



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Alaska election reform initiative smashes signature requirements on way to November ballot

was written by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media , 2020-01-10 02:16:25

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Jason Grenn, co-chair of Alaskans for Better Elections, hauls a card loaded with petition signature books to the Anchorage office of the Division of Elections for certification on Jan. 9, 2020. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

Supporters of a ballot initiative that could fundamentally change how Alaska holds its elections submitted tens of thousands of signatures to officials in Anchorage Thursday.

The ballot measure, organized by the group Alaskans for Better Elections, was required to gather 28,368 signatures. Instead, the campaign says it has over 41,000 from residents spread all over the state.

It was about -5 degrees Fahrenheit as Alaskans for Better Elections’ co-chair Jason Grenn and other campaign members unloaded cardboard boxes full of signature books from Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Sitka and beyond. They included all 40 Alaska House districts, Grenn said.

“We need a certain amount from the 30 of the 40, and we’ve done that,” he said. “And then once you get to that level, we had some time, had people who were still out in the field and decided, ‘Let’s just keep doing it ’til we can’t anymore.’”

Boxes full of signature books collected from around the state to put the Alaskans for Better Elections initiative on the ballot, sitting stacked in Anchorage on Jan. 9, 2020. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

The campaign members piled box after box onto handcarts before slowly wheeling them inside to hand over to election officials for certification. 

The ballot initiative has three aims. The first would increase reporting requirements for political groups spending money to influence elections, what critics call “dark money” that has flooded American elections since the 2010 Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. A second measure would open up primary elections, allowing unregistered or independent voters to have a say picking party candidates ahead of general elections. The last provision would move Alaska to a ranked choice voting system, similar to the State of Maine, where voters rank candidates and their overall support is aggregated through a relatively simple process.

If it passes, Alaska would be at
the cutting-edge of election reform efforts happening in states across the
country.

Grenn, a former independent member of the state House, says in the months ahead the campaign will focus on education and outreach.

“Talking to stakeholders, talking with different community leaders, talking to the public, informing them what all of this does, what it doesn’t do,” Grenn said. “The next step is we pivot into talking to the public about why this is beneficial to the voters of Alaska.”

Election officials have 60 days
to certify that organizers met the threshold of support necessary to put the
measure on the November ballot.

Carroll Thompson manages
operations for state election work in Anchorage, and says pretty much every
year her office hires  temporary workers
to help verify voter signatures.

“We’re feast or famine,” she said.

The initiative stalled when
officials in the Dunleavy Administration said it was ineligible under state law
because it violated the requirement that ballot items stick to a single issue.
A superior court judge disagreed, and in October cleared the initiative to move
forward.

According to the campaign, the top three contributors to the Alaskans for Better Elections are political organizations from Outside states: Colorado, Texas and Massachusetts.

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traveling to Alaska, America's icebox

A Visit To Alaska, the 49th State

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Whether it stems from marketing programs or common movements as a whole consumers want sustainable tourism and want to think of themselves as responsible vacationers. Alaska is a region in which responsible hospitality and travel is essential.

Some experts say that the most good must see attractions for tourists going to Alaska is

Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords is usually accessed through Seward. Within the amazingly green waters of the Fjords is an abundant array of tidewater and piedmont glaciers. Marine wildlife consists of otters, sea lions, harbor seals, humpback and orca whales, porpoises, puffins and kittiwakes. Kenai Fjords National Park is most effortlessly accessed by tour boats from Seward or by driving out to Exit Glacier, just outside of Seward. Wildlife and glacier exhibits can be found at the Small Boat Harbor visitor center and the Alaska Sealife Center. Many visitors get to Seward by way of cruise ship following an Inside Passage tour. For a terrific tour, Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park can be reached by car or by way of the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage. Another great choice is the Park Connection Motorcoach, with daily summer time service and morning or afternoon departures from Anchorage. An excellent area to stay before or following an Alaska cruise, or for several nights during a land tour, Seward offers several unique lodging opportunities. A cruise into the Kenai Fjords National Park is really a must during your visit to Alaska. Kenai Fjords cruises out of Seward vary from five, 6, 8 or 10 hours in duration and include numerous areas of the Park, including Resurrection Bay, Fox Island, Holgate Arm and the Northwestern Fjord. Other top attractions include a relaxed hike to the face of Exit Glacier and a trip to the Alaska SeaLife Center. Sea kayaking and fishing out of Seward are great ways to achieve more up-close and personal experience with the Kenai Fjords surroundings. Seward also has a good selection of unique gift shops and cafes, in addition to beachcombing, hiking, and horseback riding.

a trip to Kenai Fyords Park in Alaska, the 49th State

A Visit To Kenai Fyords National Park in Alaska