Coastal management initiative effort extending all over Alaska

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January 4, 2012

Alaska

By Al Ortiz

JUNEAU, Alaska: Due to a short window to submit petitions, supporters of the proposed coastal management question initiative are pushing hard to collect signatures for the 2012 ballot.

After approval for signature gathering, supporters must collect 25,875 signatures by the January 17 petition drive deadline.[1]

The Alaska Elections Division, along with the Department of Law, took 60 days to review and approve the initiative for signature gathering, leaving little time for supporters to collect the required 25,875 signatures for ballot access.[2]

According to Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar, when commenting on the lengthy review of the initiative: “The full 60 days allowed by law was required to give the bill the due diligence necessary."

Despite approval for signature collection, supporters did not receive pamphlets needed to begin collecting signatures immediately. According to reports, the Division of Elections was waiting on cost estimates from the Lieutenant Governor’s office before pamphlets were given to initiative sponsors.[3]

On December 21, the pamphlets were issued by the Division of Elections.[4]

Supporters have told media outlets in the state that they have signatures gatherers across the state circulating petitions. According to Bruce Botelho, sponsor of the initiative, "We’re of course trying to collect the required signatures before the legislature convenes, so that we have a chance to have the 2012 legislature deal with the issue. And absent that be able to have it on the ballot in August."[5]

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