Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 6:55 PM on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Heads up: Elections right around corner


If Alaskans aren't careful, they'll get so busy with summer that they'll be surprised by the upcoming primary election on Aug. 24.

If you haven't already started paying attention, now's the time to tune in. Two ballot measures are planned for the election:

* Ballot Measure 1 is an initiative that would ban the use of public funds for political campaigns and lobbying by state and local government agencies and school districts. Among other things, it also would ban legislators and their staff from being employed by government contract holders for two years after leaving state service.

* Ballot Measure 2 would change state law to require notice to the parent or guardian of a female younger than 18 before she has an abortion.

The primary also is when the political parties will choose those who will appear on the general election ballot in November. A host of candidates are running. Here's a sampling:

Lisa Murkowski is being challenged for her U.S. Senate seat by one Republican (Joe Miller). Three Democrats (Jacob Seth Kern, Scott T. McAdams and Frank Vondersaar, who is from Homer) and a Libertarian (Frederick "David" Haase) also want to unseat her.

Two Republicans (John R. Cox and Sheldon Fisher) are challenging Congressman Don Young for his seat in the U.S. House. One Democrat (Harry T. Crawford Jr.) has filed for that seat.

Gov. Sean Parnell is being challenged by six other Republicans (Gerald L. Heikes, Merica Hlatuc, Sam Little, Ralph Samuels, Brad Snowden and Bill Walker). Three Democrats (Ethan Berkowitz, Hollis S. French and Bob Poe), one Libertarian (William S. "Billy" Toien) and one Alaskan Independence Party candidate (Donald R. Wright) also are running for governor.

Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell is not seeking re-election, but four Republicans (Eddie Burke, Bob Lupo, Jay Ramras and Mead Treadwell), four Democrats (Diane E. Benson, Denise L. Michels, Lynette Moreno-Hinz and John Joseph Powers) and a Libertarian (Jeffrey D. Brown) have expressed interest in that seat.

Sen. Gary Stevens and Rep. Paul Seaton are running unopposed for their seats in the Alaska Legislature.

Remember, under Alaska law, a political party can select who can participate in their party's primary. That means Alaskans will have three choices:

* Any registered voter may choose the Alaskan Independence, Democrat and Libertarian Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot;

* Any registered voter may choose the Ballot Measures Only ballot;

* Voters registered as Republican, nonpartisan or undeclared may choose the Republican Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot.

"The political party affiliation listed on a voter's registration record 30 days prior to the election determines which primary ballot type a voter is eligible to vote," according to the state Division of Elections. So, if you're thinking of changing your party affiliation make sure you do it in plenty of time.

The primary election is followed by local elections the first Tuesday in October. The filing period will be in August. Those elections will be followed by the general election in November. It will be a busy campaign season, and citizens will need to do their homework.