Alaska Clean Elections, Measure 3 (August 2008)

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The Alaska Clean Elections Initiative, also known as Measure 3, was on the August 26, 2008 ballot in Alaska as an indirect initiated state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have provided public funding for legislative campaigns. The initiative would not have stopped politicians from collecting seed money for campaigns, but would have required those who chose to be publicly funded to adhere to spending limitations.[1]

Election results

Alaska Measure 3 (August 2008)
Defeatedd No120,87564.28%
Yes 67,162 35.72%

Election results via: Alaska Department of Elections

Text of measure

Ballot title

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

This bill creates a voluntary program of public funding for state election campaigns. To qualify, candidates must collect a certain number of signatures and $5 campaign contributions from vot- ers in the area in which the candidate is running for office. Qualified candidates that agree to lim- its for campaign fundraising and spending may receive campaign funding from the State of Alaska based on the office sought. A qualified candidate may receive state matching funds if the candidate is opposed by a candidate that does not take part in the program.

Should this initiative become law?


Ballot summary

The following ballot summary was prepared by the Legislative Affairs Agency:[2]

This Act would create a program for the public funding of some state election campaigns. A person running for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, state senator, or state represen- tative could be eligible. To qualify, the person would have to get a set number of $5 campaign donations from certain Alaska voters. The number of donations would depend on the office sought. Once qualified, the person would receive campaign funding from the State of Alaska. The amount of funding would be based on the office sought. Other sources of funding would be limit- ed. The person would have to abide by the program’s fundraising limits. The person would have to abide by the program’s spending limits. A qualified person could receive matching funds from the state if opposed by a candidate who was not taking part in the program.[3]


The initiative's primary sponsors were Timothy R. June, Victor Fischer and Joseph McKinnon. Clean Elections for Alaska led the campaign in support of the measure.



Clean Elections for Alaska argued the following:

  • Clean Elections will give voters a great opportunity to hold our elected officials accountable. It will allow us to take back control of the legislature by limiting the influence of money on politics.
  • Clean Elections attracts leaders from all walks of life who want to serve the public but are put off from running for office because fundraising would compromise their values. Today, only the rich and well-connected can afford to run for office in Alaska. Clean Elections levels the playing field so that regular Alaskans have a fair chance to get elected.
  • Clean Elections will help to reduce the undue influence of big oil companies and special interests that spend millions of dollars supporting or defeating candidates every year. *Clean Elections will make elections about voters and ideas rather than lobbyists and campaign money.[3]

—Clean Elections for Alaska[4]

Other arguments in support of the measure include:

  • Rep. Berta Gardner said, “I would love very much to know that the only people I’m beholden to are the citizens of Alaska. [If the measure passes] you have to get a minimum threshold of support; it forces candidates to go out and talk to the people who would vote for them.”[5]

Campaign contributions

The following is the campaign disclosure report Clean Elections for Alaska.[6]

Contributor Date Amount
BJ Gottstein 1/03/2008 $5,000
Clifford Groh II 1/04/2008 $200
IBEW PAC 1/04/2008 $1,000
AKPIRG 1/08/2008 $7,950
Total 4/04/2008 $14,150



The blog Roger That opposed Measure 3.(citation?) The blog argued, "It’s expensive, complex, exposes the state to lawsuits, muddies the political process, and lowers the bar for political candidates who would otherwise be weeded out through lack of support because the public perceives they have little to contribute to the collective political dialog."

Other arguments against the measure included:[7]

  • Contribution limits undermine fundamental First Amendment rights;
  • Contribution limits favor incumbents;
  • Contribution limits favor wealthy candidates and parties;
  • Contribution limits favor political insiders;
  • Contribution limits take control of the campaign away from the candidates.

Path to the ballot

Sponsors needed a total of about 24,000 valid signatures from qualified voters in at least 30 of the state's 40 election districts in order to get it on the 2008 ballot.[8]

Signature accusations

Proponents of the Clean Elections Act accused the sponsors of the Anti-Corruption Act of harassing signers. There were also accusations of misleading electors that they are signing for the Clean Elections act when they are in fact signing for the Anti-Corruption Act or even offering money in exchange for signatures.

Bob Adney who worked in support of the Anti-Corruption Act said that they are misinformed and the charges are based on false reports. Each petition circulator was trained for 2 hours and was given a dollar for each signature collected. Adney commented that he highly doubts any voter would sell their signature for a portion of that fee.

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