A statewide effort to make it easier for people to vote is culminating this week. On Jan. 14, petitioners submitted tens of thousands of required signatures to the Division of Elections to earn the PFD voter registration initiative a spot on a ballot this fall.
The PFD voter ballot initiative – a proposal that automatically registers people to vote at the same time they apply for their yearly payouts—has gained support from some 42,000 Alaskans. That’s nearly double the number it needed to make it on a ballot in case some signatures were invalid.
Last year, more than half a million Alaskans received PFD checks. If this ballot initiative passes, the Division of Elections estimates that some 70,000 more people could simultaneously be registered to vote, Zoe Kitchel, Sitka’s field organizer for the campaign, says.
Some opponents of the initiative are fearful of giving too much personal information to the government. Were it to pass, Kitchel says, the ballot initiative would not collect any more information than the PFD application. The initiative also includes an an opt out clause. Within a month of applying for the PFD, residents will receive a postcard in the mail that gives them the option of deregistering to vote.