Legislature(2001 - 2002)
2001-07-20 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2001-07-20 House Journal Page 1930 HB 193 The following letter, dated July 13, 2001, was received: "Dear Speaker Porter: Under the authority of art. II, sec. 17, of the Alaska Constitution, I am allowing the following bill passed by the first session of the Twenty- second Alaska State Legislature to become law without my signature and am transmitting the engrossed and enrolled copies to the Lieutenant Governor's office for permanent filing: SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 193 (FIN) "An Act relating to the primary election and to the nomination of candidates for the general election; and providing for an effective date." Chapter No. 103, SLA 2001 [Effective Date: July 14, 2001] Enactment of this bill will bring certainty to the process by which Alaska conducts its primary elections. It became necessary after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in California Democratic Party v. Jones, which invalidated blanket primaries in states where political parties objected to their use. I have decided to allow this bill to become law without my signature to indicate my concern with the bill unnecessarily restricting voter 2001-07-20 House Journal Page 1931 choice by requiring voters to pick one specific party's ballot for the primary election. While the final version of the bill is consistent with the restrictions the court placed on states' primary elections, it goes beyond what the ruling requires. I prefer, and I believe a majority of Alaska voters would have preferred, the original version of the legislation, which I introduced at the request of the Primary Election Task Force. Lt. Governor Ulmer appointed the task force to make a recommendation on how Alaska could maintain maximum voter flexibility consistent with the Supreme Court's ruling. Their charge was to keep the system as close to the existing primary election process as possible. The task force bill would have provided to undeclared and non- partisan voters a blanket primary ballot that listed all the parties' candidates, if the party rules permitted. Unfortunately, the final version of the bill does not permit that option. It requires those undeclared and non-partisan voters to select one specific party's primary ballot. The legislature has chosen a closed primary system, which is constitutional and used in many other states. It is my belief Alaska voters will ultimately demand a revision of this system to more closely approximate the blanket primary we have used for most of the state's history - giving voters the widest possible choice of candidates. However, time is of the essence for voters, candidates, parties and election workers to prepare for the August 2002 primary election. It is therefore prudent to adopt this legislation now, allowing the election process to proceed in an orderly fashion, rather than risk chaos and uncertainty in approaching the next election. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"