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AARP Alaska, August 3, 2010
On Aug. 24, Alaska voters will be asked to vote on a poorly worded ballot initiative that, if it passes, would effectively cut you and your family – even members of your extended family – out of the political process.
AARP Alaska is strongly opposed to Ballot Measure One as it compromises the free speech of every Alaskan. It also makes it criminal for citizens to take part in governmental processes through campaign contributions. In Alaska, it is easy to get an initiative on the ballot; just because an initiative appears on the ballot does not mean it is constitutional.
This Initiative Strips You of Your Political Voice. The political rights of anyone who holds a government contract – for services, goods, or even a mining lease – would be restricted; this restriction applies to the holders of virtually all contracts of more the $500. The restriction extends to his/her family members, including uncles, aunts, step-children, nieces, nephews, even grandparents.
Municipalities, towns, and villages would be prohibited from spending funds to explain their needs to their legislators. For example, people from Homer, Fairbanks or Kotzebue could not retain a lobbyist, but would be required to travel to Juneau at their own expense.
And if you serve on a Board for a non-profit that receives public funds, such as a charity, a recreational group, a trade association, etc., neither you nor anyone in your extended family could make a contribution to a candidate who is running for office. If your grandmother serves on the board of a senior center and you made a political contribution, you would be committing a criminal act. We don’t think that makes much sense.
The Initiative Violates Numerous Provisions of the Constitution. It violates First Amendment rights protecting political speech. Alaska’s former attorney general issued the opinion that the initiative will not stand up to a constitutional challenge, meaning Alaskans will have to foot the bill to undo this onerous initiative if it is passes.
Vote Tuesday, Aug. 24 for the political candidate of your choice and Vote No On One.
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