• Primary primer provides practical presentation of proposition, postulants
By Naomi Klouda
The Primary Election ballot for Aug. 19 asks voters to decide five races and one proposition. Doesn’t sound complicated, right?
However, Homer’s new grouping into House District 31 and Senate District P, means voter preparation can save confusion at the polls.
Here are five key FYIs:
• Homer will no longer be represented in the upcoming Legislative session by Sen. Peter Micciche — or his opponent, Eric Treiber. Whichever candidate wins will represent a redrawn Senate District O; Homer moves to Senate District P.
• In the Senate race, Homer will be asked to chose either incumbent Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, or Democratic candidate Robert “Moose” Heinrichs.
• The House District 31 boundaries — including Homer — feature incumbent Rep. Paul Seaton. He is running unopposed. Homer was moved out of District 30. It is now in District 31.
• The Tuesday Aug. 19 election is a closed primary. This means voters will be asked to select either a “Republican” ballot, or a combined “Democratic Party-Libertarian Party-Alaska Independence Party ballot.”
• Those who can pick which ballot they want to vote, Republican or Democrat, are non-partisan voters, undeclared voters and Republicans. This allows Republicans to vote a Democrat ballot, but Democrats cannot vote a Republican ballot.
Elections Chief Gail Fenumiai explains the ballot designations are not up to the Division of Elections.
“Political party bylaws spell out which voters have access to their ballots,” Fenumiai said. “People who vote outside ballot designations would become a questioned ballot.”
On the Republican ballot, voters will chose among four Republican candidates for U.S. Senator: Dan Sullivan, Mead Treadwell, John Jaramilo and Joe Miller.
For U.S. Representative: Don Young, David Seaward, John R. Cox and David Dohner.
Governor: Sean Parnell, Brad Snowden, Gerald Heikes and Russ Millette.
Senate District P: Gary Stevens.
On the Democratic/Alaska Libertarian/Alaskan Independence Party ballot, voters will decide between seven U.S. Senate candidates: Mark Fish, Zachary Kile, Scott Kohlhass, Vic Kohring, Thom Walker, Mark Begich and Bill Bryk.
For U.S. Representative: Forest Dunbar, Jim McDermott and Frank Vondersaar.
Governor: Carolyn Clift, Byron Mallot or Phil Stoddard.
Lt. Governor: Hollis French, Andrew Lee and Bob Williams.
Senate District P: Robert “Moose” Henrichs.
Voters were notified in the fall of 2013 that their districts had changed. Redistricting information arrived in the mail, along with the new voter identification cards, Fenumiai said. But if voters didn’t have a chance to absorb the changes, they might meet with confusion at the polls.
“The district is printed on their cards, along with precinct information,” she said.
Boundaries in June of 2012 changed significantly for voting districts around the state. The Lower Kenai Peninsula remapping meant Sen. Gary Stevens saw his lines redrawn to exclude much of the Peninsula, but kept Seldovia, Nanwalek, Port Graham and Halibut Cove.
Homer was then lumped with central Kenai Peninsula voters in a district won by Sen. Micciche from the defeated Sen. Tom Wagoner.
Now, as part of Senate District P, Homer voters will vote alongside residents from Kalifornski Beach Road in the north all the way to Yakutat in southeast Alaska, and as far west as the Alaska Peninsula. This district encompasses 14 school districts, explained Doug Letch, Sen. Stevens’ aide.
Voters probably scratched their heads when they opened the primary election pamphlet that arrived in the mail. In it, Prop 1 — which has garnered most of the Aug. 19 election year hoopla, and an advertising blitz – is explained in no fewer than 32 pages. This is because state law requires that the entire law as it is written from Senate Bill 21 be reprinted for voters to read. Fenumiai explained that this will help voters know what changes are being proposed in the repeal of it.
“The referendum is long because the law is very long. We have to print the full text of the law,” Fenumiai said. “Senate Bill 21 took that many pages.”
It also prints the pro and con summaries of Prop 1.
Remember, a YES vote means voters want SB21 repealed.
A NO vote keeps it on the books.
If you require legislative help between now and Jan. 20, 2015 when the new session begins, you will need to talk to Sen. Micciche or Rep. Paul Seaton’s offices. Reapportionment doesn’t take effect until the new legislators are sworn into office on opening day.
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