Alaska Replacement of U.S. Senators Initiative, Measure 4 (2004)
|Alaska Replacement of U.S. Senators Act, Measure 4|
The ballot initiative related to how the state fills its U.S. Senate vacancies, which became an issue in Alaska after Republican Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter Lisa Murkowski to his Senate seat when he was elected governor in 2002.
Prior to the successful passage of the 2004 ballot measure, the governor could appoint a replacement to a vacant Senate seat. The initiative was primarily sponsored by Democratic legislators. It abolished the practice of appointments and required a special election in all cases except when the vacancy occurs within 60 days of a primary election.
Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, the Republican chief of the Division of Elections, twice removed the measure from the Nov. 2 ballot but was ordered by the Alaska Supreme Court to put it back on.
He wrote the initiative's ballot summary, which said the proposition would leave Alaska without full representation in the Senate for three to five months.
The group that petitioned for the initiative, Trust the People, sued for an injunction once it discovered the language of the summary on Sept. 21.
Text of measure
The language that appeared on the ballot:
This measure would repeal state law that allows the Governor to appoint a person to temporarily fill a vacant seat in the United States Senate until an election can be held and certified. Under this measure a vacated seat would remain vacant for three to five months, leaving Alaska without full representation in the Senate. Other provisions are identical to existing law and those parts of the law remain unchanged. Current law requires that a senate vacancy be filled by special election, or regular election if the vacancy occurs less than 60 days before the primary election for that seat.
A major donor in support of the measure was Trust the People-Yes on 4 who spent $180,081 for the campaign.
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