Two ballot measures to meet their fate as Alaska's Primary Election arrives

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August 24, 2010

Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska: After months of campaigning, debates and controversies, both ballot measures slated for the August 24, 2010 primary election ballot will finally be decided. Both measures have had their fare share of attention in the state:

Ballot Measure 1, according to the text of the measure, would mandate that no public organization or person who is employed by the state could receive, permit, require or facilitate the use of public resources for any political agenda such as campaigning, lobbying or other similar activities. Violation would result in a Class A misdemeanor if the measure is approved. Opponents of the measure have stated that the initiative would stunt citizens' abilities to petition government through professional representation or services. Opponents, who refer to the measure as a "gag law," say that free speech would be compromised, as the measure would disallow the rights of citizens to take part in governmental processes through campaign contributions.

The campaign for the measure has also come under scrutiny, as Clean Team Alaska, the main sponsors of the measure, was fined $90 for not filing its 30-day spending report on August 12, 2010. Alaskans for Open Government, who had reportedly donated thousands of dollars into the campaign run by Clean Team Alaska, was slapped with a $339,000 for not filing its report on time. The report was filed months after the deadline. According to Ken Jacobus, member of Alaskans for Open Government, "Because we didn't think we had to file and filing is a bunch of work, I didn't file. And once someone raised a question about it whether we should file or not, I filed."[1]

Although the measure will still appear on the ballot, the measure's supporters dropped their campaign efforts, stating that the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska's changes to the ballot language gave an unfair advantage to those who want to reject the measure. Initiative organizers did not take their argument to court, citing corruption in the judicial system.

Ballot Measure 2 would forbid a minor from getting an abortion without a doctor informing at least one parent before moving forward with the procedure. The proposal also includes enforcing legal penalties on doctors who perform abortions on minors without consent of the minor's parents. Opponents argue that the measure puts teens in abusive families in danger by having them notify their parents. The campaign against the measure also says that they are against government mandates. According to the website for the Alaskans for Parental Rights, the main campaign for the measure, the group countered it's opposition, stating, "Opponents of the parental notification ballot measure argue it is a “government mandate.” But all laws are government mandates, from highway speed limits, to the rule that says you have to buckle your infant into a car seat when traveling on the road. The essential question is whether the law advances a proper interest. Parental involvement laws protect the rights of parents..."[2]

All debate aside from the two measures' supporters and opponents, both proposals are set to be decided on by the Alaska voters, with results coming in at 8:00 p.m. AST, via the Alaska Division of Elections (dead link). Ballotpedia will be updating pages for both Ballot Measure 1's results and Ballot Measure 2's results live at that time.

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