There are two questions on the Alaska ballot this year. And the first – Ballot Measure 1- is an act allowing qualified individuals to register to vote when applying for a Permanent Fund Dividend. 

Downloadable audio.


Zoë Kitchel, who supports a ballot measure that would automatically qualify those registering for a PFD to vote. (Robert Woolsey/KCAW photo)

Hi, I’m Zoë Kitchel. I like the PFD Automatic Voter Registration ballot initiative, and I think you will, too.

PFD Automatic Voter Registration is a simple, elegant idea: when you register for the PFD, you get registered to vote. It’s two birds one stone — or more specifically, one form knocks out two bureaucratic paperwork processes! It’s efficient.

I want to share why Ballot Measure 1, PFD Automatic Voter Registration, makes good sense and deserves your vote.

PFD Automatic Voter Registration is good for democracy and for facilitating civic participation. This simple change is estimated to add 70,000 currently eligible but unregistered Alaskans to the voter rolls, particularly Alaska Natives and those serving in our military, who are currently underrepresented.

PFD Automatic Voter Registration saves Alaska money in an era where finding ways to save is not a just a goal, but a necessity. By systematizing voter registration, the initiative will reduce paperwork and clerical time. After taking into account both projected costs and savings, Northern Economics, an Anchorage-based economics consultancy, projects $300,000 in annual net savings. At this time in Alaska’s history, every little bit of savings helps.

PFD Automatic Voter Registration also enhances voter security. Right now, security for the PFD is much more stringent than that for voter registration. The PFD Automatic Voter Registration upgrades voter registration verification standards to those already in place for PFD registration.

There is no organized opposition to PFD Automatic Voter Registration, but I think it’s important to get the word out about how this ballot initiative can get paperwork out of our lives and make voter registration easier, less expensive, and more efficient. Leaders in both parties, from Sen. Murkowski to Sen. Sullivan to former Sen. Begich support Ballot Initiative 1, as does the Alaska Federation of Natives, League of Women Voters, the oil company BP, and the Anchorage based conservation organization The Alaska Center.

I will be supporting PFD Automatic Voter Registration, and I hope you will consider doing so, too.

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