UAAVotes Ballot Guide

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The UAA Campus Community is proud to present UAAVotes.

A non-partisan campus collaboration, UAAVotes offers a balanced overview of what you'll find on the Alaska General Election ballot this fall. 

Your participation in democracy starts here! Your vote is your voice!

Vote by Mail

Voting by mail allows you to vote from home, giving you freedom to research and vote on a timeline that works for you. Plus, voting by mail keeps you out of public spaces, reducing the risk of community transmission. This fall, vote by mail!

October 24: Mail-In Ballot Request Deadline
Deadline for voters to request an absentee ballot.

Request a Mail-In Ballot

Your Vote, Your Choice

The choices you make on the ballot this fall will cover national elections, state representation and legislation. 

Whether you vote by mail or at the polls, do some research before putting pen to paper. Your research starts here, with an overview of who and what is on the ballot. 

Who's On the Ballot

The Alaska General Election Ballot for Fall 2020 combines national elections with state legislative and judicial elections. Wondering what positions you'll vote for this fall? Review the basics of each position and election process. 

  • Presidential Election

    The head executive of the United States, the President is elected every four years through an indirect election.

    What is an indirect election?

    An indirect election is an election in which voters elect representatives to vote on their behalf. In the case of U.S. presidential elections, these representatives, called "electors," sit on the Electoral College and represent the popular interests of the state in the final national election.

    Candidate Requirements

    The U.S. Constitution outlines three requirements for Presidential Candidates: 

    1. A natural-born citizen of the United States.
    2. A resident of the United States for 14 years.
    3. At least 35 years old.

    Learn More about Presidential Elections

  • Congressional Elections

    Members of Congress are elected every two years based on rotating term schedules for each Congressional body. 

    House of Representatives
    All 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms. States are represented in the House of Representatives in approximate proportion to their populations, with every state guaranteed at least one seat. The state of Alaska has one seat in the House of Representatives. 

    Candidate Requirements
    Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives must meet the following requirements: 

    1. A U.S. citizen for at least 7 years.
    2. A resident of the state they represent.
    3. At least 25 years old.

    Senate
    U.S. Senators serve six-year terms. The Senate is composed of two senators from each state, totaling 100 members. One third of senate seats are elected every two years. 

    Candidate Requirements
    Candidates for the U.S. Senate must meet the following requirements: 

    1. A U.S. citizen for at least 9 years.
    2. A resident of the state they represent.
    3. At least 30 years old.

    Learn More about Congressional Elections

  • State Legislature Elections

    Like the U.S. Congress, Alaska State Legislature is a bicameral Legislature made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    House of Representatives
    The lower chamber of the Alaska Legislature, the House is composed of representatives from each of Alaska's 40 house districts. With only 40 seats, the Alaska House of Representatives is among the smallest state representative bodies in the U.S.

    Alaska State Representatives serve two-year terms.

    Candidate Requirements
    Candidates for the Alaska House of Representatives must meet the following requirements: 

    1. A qualified voter.
    2. A resident of the Alaska for at least 3 years.
    3. A resident of their house district for at least one year.
    4. At least 21 years old.

    Senate
    The higher chamber of the Alaska Legislature, the Senate is composed of representatives from each of Alaska's 20 senate districts. With only 20 seats, the Alaska Senate is the smallest state legislative body in the U.S.

    Alaska State Senators serve four-year terms.

    Candidate Requirements
    Candidates for the Alaska Senate must meet the following requirements: 

    1. A qualified voter. 
    2. A resident of the Alaska for at least 3 years.
    3. A resident of their senate district for at least one year.
    4. At least 25 years old.

     

  • State Judicial Elections

    Whereas most states elect state judges, Alaska's judges are screened and nominated by the Alaska Judicial Council, appointed by the governor and retained by elections.

    Alaska Judicial Council
    Established by the Alaska Constitution, the Alaska Judicial Council is an independent citizens' commission with seven members responsible for screening and nominating judicial applicants. The Council is composed of the following: 

    • 3 attorneys appointed by the Alaska Bar Association.
    • 3 non-attorneys appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature.
    • 1 chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.

    Standing for Retention
    Alaska judges are required to periodically "stand for retention." This gives Alaska voters the opportunity to determine whether a judge continues in office. Judges standing for retention on the ballot are not running against anyone but running to remain in their position. 

    Judicial terms range from 4 to 10 years depending on the court the judge serves. 

    Learn More about Judicial Elections

The presidential race is all the rage this year.

Here you can connect to the candidate's websites, platforms and upcoming events via their campaign websites. 

Candidate Comparison

Brought to you by the Campus Election Engagement Project, this guide is a balanced, nonpartisan comparison of the candidates and their positions on current events and issues. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements.

 

Non-Partisan Candidate Guide

In 2020, Alaskans will elect legislators in both chambers of the U.S. Congress. 

U.S. Senate

Candidate Connections

U.S. House of Representatives

Candidate Connections

 

Candidate Comparisons

Brought to you by the Campus Election Engagement Project, this guide is a balanced, nonpartisan comparison of the candidates and their positions on current events and issues. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements.

Non-Partisan Candidate Guide

Like the U.S. Congress, Alaska State Legislature is a bicameral Legislature made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The legislative candidates that appear on your ballot will vary depending on your residential district and precinct. To research your candidates, first identify your district and precinct.

Find your State Districts

Alaska judges are required to periodically "stand for retention." This gives Alaska voters the opportunity to determine whether a judge continues in office. Judges standing for retention on the ballot are not running against anyone but running to remain in their position.

The judges that appear of your ballot will vary by your residential address. The Alaska Judicial Council offers recommendations for all judges standing for retention. 

Review AJC Recommendations

What's On the Ballot

In addition to positions and political elections, the Alaska General Election Ballot features two important ballot measures. 

What is a ballot measure?

A ballot measure is a petitioned initiative that has made it to the ballot for general voting. Unlike legislative initiatives, petitioned initiatives can be created by the public instead of the state legislature. After a lengthy petition process, initiatives are added to the ballot for Alaskans to vote.

 The two state-wide ballot measures will appear on all Alaskan ballots. 

Ballot Measure 1

An act changing the oil and gas production tax for certain fields, units, and non-unitized reservoirs on the North Slope, Ballot Measure #1 (or 19OGTX) could change the financial structure of Alaska's biggest economic industry. This initiative proposes these changes, which apply only to the Alpine, Kuparuk, and Prudhoe Bay fields on the North Slope:

  1. a tax on the gross value at the point of production of the oil at a rate of 10% when oil is less than $50 per-barrel
  2. an "additional tax" on production tax value, calculated based on the difference between the production tax value of the oil and $50. The difference between the two would be multiplied by the volume of oil, and then that amount would be multiplied by 15%
  3. a "ring fencing" clause, which would restrict companies from using tax deductions from the Alpine, Kuparuk, and Prudhoe Bay fields on smaller fields

BM1 Summarized

Before you cast your ballot on this complicated ballot measure, refresh your memory about Alaska's relationship with the oil & gas industry and review the concepts proposed in the initiative. 

  • Tax Revenue History

    According to the Resource Development Council for Alaska, oil production has funded up to 90 percent of the state’s unrestricted General Fund revenues in most years and has accounted for over $180 billion in total revenue since statehood.

    The oil and gas industry paid over $3.1 billion in state and local taxes and royalties in FY 2019, including $2.7 billion to state government and $449 million to local governments.

    However, the contributions that oil makes to our state’s revenue is declining, presently to around 25%.

  • Production Taxes

    Production taxes are the taxes paid by companies when a natural resource is "produced."

    Production taxes can be levied on either the value or the quantity of a resource. 

    BM1 proposes a production tax to the gross value of oil at the point of production when the average per-barrel prices is less than $50 and an additional tax that is levied on the volume of oil produced. 

  • Royalties

    A royalty is a payment to an individual or entity for the use of originally-created assets, designed to generate revenue to compensate an entity for the license of their asset. 

    In Alaska, royalties refer to the public share of revenue generated by natural resource investments. 

  • Ring Fencing

    Ring Fencing is a policy that limits companies' ability to calculate and pay production taxes across investment areas.

    BM1 proposes a restriction for companies to calculate and pay production taxes on a field-by-field basis, meaning that tax credits incurred by other, smaller fields cannot be applied as deductions on the Alpine, Kuparuk, or Prudhoe Bay fields, and vice versa. 

Are you in favor or opposed to BM1? Seawolf Debate brought propoents and opponents together to debate this measure in an empty, eerie Wendy Williamson.

Ballot Measure 2

An act replacing the political party primary with an open primary system and ranked-choice general election, Ballot Measure 2 (or 19AKBE) could fundamentally change the structure of general elections in Alaska. This initiative proposes three main changes:

  1. eliminating Political Party Primaries and implementing Open Primary Systems in its place;
  2. implementing ranked-choice voting in the General Election; and,
  3. requiring additional campaign finance disclosures from candidates and sponsors. 

BM2 Summarized

Before you decide whether you are for or against this measure, be sure to review what these systems are and how they currently operate in Alaska. 

  • Primary Elections

    Primary elections are the process by which a political party nominates and elects their candidate for the upcoming election cycle. 

    Traditionally, registered members of the political party select the candidate, but in the late twentieth century, new methods for facilitating primary elections began opening up the primary process to non-registered or unaffiliated voters. 

  • Political Party Primaries

    In Alaska, the existing primary election process is called a semi-closed primary. 

    In a semi-closed primary system, state law permits political parties to choose whether to allow unaffiliated voters or voters not registered with the party to participate in their nominating contests before each election cycle. In this type of system, parties may let in unaffiliated voters, while still excluding members of opposing parties. 

    In Alaska, primaries are paid for by the state and currently are structured with a “Republican” semi-closed primary and a separate ballot for everyone else, commonly referred to as the “Democrat” ballot. In Alaska, smaller or third-party, such as “Green,” “Alaska Independence,” and “Libertarian,” candidates do not have their own state-funded primary.

  • Open Primaries

    Some states use open primary systems to facilitate primary elections. There are both partisan and nonpartisan open primaries.

    Partisan open primaries allow voters to choose privately in which primary to vote. In other words, voters may choose which party’s suite of candidates they would like to vote for, but this decision is private and does not register the voter with that party. This permits a voter to cast a vote across party lines for the primary election.

    In nonpartisan open primaries, all candidates for office are listed on a single ballot available to all voters. In other words, voters are not tied to a single party for the choices.

  • Traditional Voting

    In traditional voting systems, a voter chooses one option out of many.

    This may be comparable to a multiple-choice question, where you're presented with a few options and can only choose one. In this system, the option with the most votes wins. Of course, systems like the Electoral College complicate the process, but generally speaking, traditional voting systems aim to identify the popular vote.

  • Ranked Choice Voting

    Introduced in the early twenty-first century on the national stage, ranked choice voting gives voters the option to indicate preference by indicating their first choice, second choice and third choice candidates. 

    So how does this system determine a winner?

    When ballots are counted, officials total all the first-choice votes. If a candidate has the simple majority of the first-choice votes, the candidate is elected.

    If no candidate is elected at the first round, the candidate with the fewest first choices would be eliminated, and the race enters an “instant runoff” stage. The voters who ranked the least popular candidate first would instead have their second choice counted when the ballots are tabulated in the second round. 

    Election officials keep record of each stage of counting and in Alaska, that means keeping the paper ballot archive.

  • Campaign Finance Disclosures

    Campaigns in Alaska are required to file some information on expenditures with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). Currently, organizations are not required to tell voters where campaign money has been sourced. 

    Established by the 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, organizations can spend unlimited amounts of funds on political speech. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld the constitutionality of reasonable disclosure laws, finding that the public has a right to know the interests that are spending large amounts of money to influence their elections. 

    Disclosure laws vary by state and can be implemented by state legislatures or via ballot initiative.

 

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