GOTNV Update: Election Policy Work Group
The Alaska Division of Elections’ Election Policy Work Group convened most recently on May 9, 2018. In attendance were various people, including Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. The focus of the meeting was on improving Alaska elections, and going over the logistics of improving voter turnout. The guiding principles consisted of maximized accessibility, coordination and buy-in, voter satisfaction and confidence, security and integrity, voter outreach, and longevity in the solution.
There was an emphasis on educating youth on the importance of voting, because there has been a lack of young people voting nationwide. The turnout among youth has been the lowest seen since 1972, despite voting being easier than ever. There are ideas in place for developing a youth council to heighten interest in voting. Previous youth focus groups have discussed what it means to be a citizen, and voting wasn’t even suggested as an answer – a clear indicator of the need to educate youth on the importance of voting.
The work group also discussed concerns raised by rural Alaskans regarding the change to mail-in ballots. Rural Alaskans don’t always have a steady mail-in/mail-out schedule, and that may affect when votes are received and submitted. Rural Alaska residents also have issues with remote access; many flights going in or out of rural communities get delayed due to weather, which would also delay the mail. Another limiting factor is the price of postage; although the cost is minimal, it could still negatively impact those on a strict budget. A few of the issues discussed at the Election Policy Work Group included a different form of voting and whether it would be effective for everyone.
Doyon is paying close attention to these issues, as they affect Doyon shareholders who reside in rural communities. The right to vote is protected and Doyon wants to educate shareholders on any issues that may impact their ability to vote.
The Election Policy Work Group is scheduled to meet again in July, and Doyon will continue to monitor and report on its discussions and progress.