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November 18, 2020

Alaskans Say ‘Yes’ to Ballot Measure 2: More Choice, More Voice and More Power to the People

Alaskans Say ‘Yes’ to Ballot Measure 2: More Choice, More Voice and More Power to the People

November 18, 2020
Published By American Promise

Congratulations Alaska! In the recent election, over 50% of Alaska voters said “yes” to becoming the 21st state calling for a Constitutional amendment to enable limits on big money in politics and protect their voice and self-government. Gathering over 171,000 votes, Ballot Measure 2 will reduce partisanship, end the secret influence of dark money, create a single unified primary open to all voters, and institute ranked choice voting.

The ballot measure is designed to reform the state’s election system by giving the power back to the Alaskan people. American Promise, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering voters and reforming campaign finance, congratulates the people of Alaska on this historic vote.

“This is a great victory for the people of Alaska and for American Promise supporters across the state,” says Jeff Clements, President and CEO of American Promise, an organization that played a role in helping Ballot Measure 2 gain passage. “The successful passage of Ballot Measure 2 proves that with cooperation and understanding, the people of Alaska can unite together in order to strengthen democracy and empower citizens.”

The victory of Ballot Measure 2 comes on the heels of a $14 billion 2020 election cycle, the most expensive in American history. With millions of dollars of out-of-state, dark money flooding into Alaska, recent polling shows that 71% of Alaskan voters support limits on election spending by corporations, unions, wealthy individuals and outside entities.

Former Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court Walter “Bud” Carpeneti, an American Promise supporter, believes in protecting the free speech rights of all Alaskans and Americans with reasonable spending limits. “Runaway money in politics is drowning out the voices of ordinary Alaskans,” he says. “It is flooding us with toxic and divisive misinformation, and eroding the foundations of our representative government.”

With the specific reforms in Ballot Measure 2 now moving ahead, support for a long-term Constitutional solution to out-of-control money influence in elections is growing in Alaska. The law that voters approved with Ballot Measure 2 calls for the state to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to enable limits on big money in politics and protect Alaskans’ voice and self-government.

Alaska State Senator Scott Kawasaki, who authored State Joint Resolution 16 in the last legislative session to advance Alaska’s support for such a Constitutional amendment, celebrated the cross-partisan momentum behind the reform effort: “While there is still a long way to go, any policy that helps to place the power of our democracy into the hands of the people and eliminate dark money from politics is a step in the right direction.”

Chief Justice Carpeneti echoed this sentiment, saying: “I look forward to joining Alaskans across the political spectrum to move the American Promise Constitutional amendment forward.”

Other American Promise supporters in Alaska praising the effort include Pat Lambert, a retired math professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. “Alaska has just voted to amend its Constitution so as to curtail the use of untraceable ‘dark money’ in political campaigns,” Lambert says. “It is time to rein in the outsized influence that major donors with ‘big money’ have in national electoral politics — it is time for the 28th Amendment.”

Jim Barnett, an Anchorage attorney and historian, who is also a former member of the Anchorage Assembly, added, “the founding citizens of the 49th State wrote into our state Constitution that ‘All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good fo the people as a whole.’ That’s the American promise, and the Alaska promise to its residents since Statehood, and I am thrilled that we in Alaska are coming together again to renew that promise.”

The ballot measure’s success reflects that original intent, Barnett says. “That’s the American Promise, and now we in Alaska are coming together to renew that promise again.”

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