PFD voter initiative gets on ballot

A proposal to streamline voter registration with permanent fund dividend applications has secured a spot on Alaska’s ballot this summer.

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The PFD Voter initiative is slated to appear on the August 16th primary election ballot. This will be the only measure in the primary, according to the Division of Elections.

The Division verified nearly 37,000 voter signatures and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot signed certification documents this week.

Supporters of the measure say it would eliminate redundancies in government and make it easier for people to vote. But, some opponents of the initiative are fearful of giving too much personal information to the government.

The PFD voter initiative does includes an opt-out clause. Within a month of applying for the PFD, residents will receive a postcard in the mail that gives them the option of deregistering to vote. The Division of Elections estimates that some 70,000 more people will be registered if this initiative is passed.

The initiative received support from a broad spectrum of agencies, including ANCSA Regional Association and the ACLU of Alaska.

This push to get more people to the polls has roots in Sitka.

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins was party to the group that came up up with the initiative, modeled after Oregon’s Motor Voter Law, which automatically registers people to vote when they renew or apply for a driver license or state ID. Canvassers in Sitka collected hundreds of signatures to get the initiative on the ballot