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In early election results, “no” votes lead on Ballot Measure 1

Posted: August 19, 2014 - 11:12pm

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, with 245 of 441 precincts reporting across the state, the unofficial results for Ballot Measure 1 were 53,550 votes saying “no” to the referendum, a repeal of Senate Bill 21, and 51,484 votes saying yes to the repeal.

Votes on the referendum by district were not yet available.

Eileen Becker of Homer remained optimistic that the “no” votes would prevail. However, from her conversations with voters, she believed many lacked an understanding of the ballot measure. Becker was critical of the 32-pages devoted to the ballot measure in the state’s ballot measure pamphlet.

“People didn’t read that. It was very confusing,” said Becker. “I think it created more division than it should have.”

Larry Smith, who helped organize a “vote yes” rally in Homer in June, said early results were “a great disappointment to ‘vote no’ people to have to put up with the repeal being close, so whatever the outcome actually is, it sends a very significant message that the belief in the producers’ arguments is kind of faltering.”

Watching as election updates were posted online, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, said, “It looks like it’s going to be a squeaker one way or the other.”

The vote followed a campaign for which opponents, funded primarily by BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon, “spent north of $15 million” in advertising, according to Frank Mullen of Homer who also helped organize Homer’s “vote yes” rally.

Sue Mauger, at a Homer community dialogue on the subject in July, said the ballot measure came down to a question of Alaskans’ trust in the oil industry.

The ballot measure’s complicated title was “an act relating to the oil and gas production, tax interest rates on overdue taxes and tax credits.” Small wonder when Bill Walker, independent gubernatorial candidate, was in Homer in July, he said if a vote had been held then, “‘I don’t understand’ would win by a landslide.”

Senate Bill 21 was brought to the Legislature by Gov. Sean Parnell. He said it was a way to increase oil production and investment dollars in Alaska’s oil industry. Parnell said it balanced the tax credit system established by ACES, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share, put in place during Sarah Palin’s term as governor.

Having passed the House, the legislation passed out of the Senate in March 2013, on an 11-9 vote. Among those voting for it were Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, a former mayor of Soldotna, commercial fisherman and an employee of ConocoPhillips, and Sen. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, also a ConocoPhillips employee. Micciche and Meyer’s participation in the vote was seen as “two oil companies casting their votes, which many of us think was an unethical act, a conflict of interest,” said Vic Fischer, a member of the Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway nonpartisan group, when Fischer visited Homer for a “vote yes” rally in June.

Palin also has spoken out in support of repealing Senate Bill 21.

“We own the energy sources per our Constitution, and we violate our state’s blueprint that creates security and prosperity when we wave the white flag and give in to every demand of multinational corporations doing business up here. … We must repeal this SB21 boondoggle on Tuesday,” said Palin on her Facebook page.

Looking at how much had been spent to stop the repeal and awaiting the final results of Tuesday’s election, Mullen was hopeful.

“Passion and good sense might prevail,” he said. “We’ll find out shortly.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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Analyst 08/20/14 - 06:14 am
SB21 Repeal and Senate primary

Alaskans have the choice of supporting the second best of a bad Republican lot (Miller clearly being the worst) or someone who has represented the state well for the last six years and the residents of Anchorage for many years longer.

The worst part of the vote was the apparent failure of SB21 Repeal. The "Yes" side was outspent almost 60-1, and the hot Senate primary probably brought out a vastly disproportionate number of Republican voters. The immense and disgraceful giveaway was a very Republican bill and could not have passed without so many senators or the spouses being on the Conoco-Phillips payroll. Prime among them was Homer's state senator, Peter Micciche, a highly paid Conoco-Phillips manager whose vote was absolutely indispensable in the passage of SB21. When your PFD goes away, when your pension may be in jeopardy, when your roads or schools are falling apart, please remember Peter's odious role in this theft of Alaskans' heritage.

jokimball777 08/20/14 - 12:42 pm

It is important to remember our votes our counted on diebold accuvote machines which are easily hackable and sent through a diebold central tabulator.

Howard Dean Hacks the same GEMS system in less than 5 minutes in a "Hack the vote" video with Bev Harris.

Public opinion was for the repeal, all comments in newspapers except for obvious out of state paid shills, overflowing debates had people cheering for repeal arguments and laughing at arguments made by oil company shills.

Since our votes are only counted by diebold, we have no way of verifying this election.

As Ronald Reagan said "Trust, but verify"

Because of election problems in recent past history, such as 200% in 16 out of 40 districts in 2004, we cannot just trust voting machines, we must verify them with a hand count of our paper ballots.

How can we claim to be the greatest democracy on earth, as we allow our ballots to be counted in private with secret source code on electronic voting machines. Our founders would be rolling in their graves.

Analyst 08/20/14 - 12:54 pm
Jo Kimball

I don't disagree.

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