Ballot Measure 2 will disproportionately harm Alaska Natives.
This 25-page initiative would replace our simple method of voting with a complicated scheme financed by Lower-48 billionaires, without Alaska’s unique diversity in mind.
One year after all Alaska Natives were granted US citizenship, the Alaska Territorial Legislature enacted a literacy law requiring that voters be able to read and write in English – effectively disenfranchising thousands of Alaska Natives. Measure 2 will have a similar effect.
Lower-48 billionaires cannot begin to understand what it’s like to vote in rural Alaska, where one might have to travel through difficult terrain by boat, plane, or four-wheeler to get to a polling location.
The language barrier is also very real, particularly for many elders. Anything that complicates the voting process, such as Measure 2, will depress rural turnout and dilute Native voices. It’s the modern-day equivalent of a poll tax, designed to benefit those with privilege.
It’s no accident that local NAACP and ACLU chapters in the Lower-48 have opposed Ranked Choice Voting because it “exacerbates economic and racial disparities in voting.”
Please stand with vulnerable Alaskans and vote no on Ballot Measure 2.
Dana Leask-Ruaro is a lifelong Alaskan, Alaska Native, and a Native and Rural activist.