PFD Voter Campaign Delivers

The PFD Voter Registration ballot initiative group announced it had collected more than 42,000 signatures in an effort to get the measure on the Alaska ballot for voters to decide.

The group announced the results of the signature drive Jan. 14 in a press conference at the Fireweed Business Center, the headquarters for CIRI. After the press conference, volunteers carried boxes full of signatures across the street and delivered them to the Alaska Division of Elections.

The ballot initiative would allow the state to synchronize voter registration with the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) application process, reducing paperwork and saving on processing costs. The measure is projected to register as many as 70,000 Alaskans to vote in year one.

“This is a common sense, low cost solution to a known problem,” said organization Co-Chair Aaron Schutt, president and CEO of Doyon, Limited.

One of the groups currently under-represented among registered voters are Alaska Native people, who account for 15 percent of the population, but make up only seven percent of registered voters, according to the group.

In early polling, the group said 60 percent of Alaskans support the idea of the initiative, and in the span of four months, the group was able to collect more than 125 percent of the required number of signatures.

“Alaska has some of the most stringent ballot initiative signature requirements in the country,” said Kim Reitmeier, president of the ANCSA Regional Association, a group that represents the 12 Alaska-based Native regional corporations. “We couldn’t have achieved this herculean task without the support of Alaskans all over the state who are committed to a better future.”

In order for the PFD Voter Registration initiative to appear on the ballot in 2016, the campaign was responsible for submitting 28,545 signatures from registered voters to the Lieutenant Governor before the start of the 2016 Alaska legislative session on Jan. 19. Depending on when the Division of Elections validates the signatures, the initiative will either appear on the August primary ballot or the general election ballot in November.