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Alaska Supreme Court says elections measure can go to ballot

June 12, 2020 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposed initiative that would change the state’s elections process can appear on the ballot, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The measure, among other things, would create an open primary where all candidates would be listed on a ballot and create a ranked-choice voting system for general elections. It also would require additional disclosures for certain campaign contributions.

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson last year said the measure violated a so-called single-subject rule and recommended Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer not certify it. That led to a lawsuit, with a state court judge reversing Meyer’s denial. The state appealed.

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Friday’s opinion states that a plain reading of the measure shows its provisions “embrace the single subject of ‘election reform’ and share the nexus of election administration.”

“The initiative’s provisions are logically related,” the ruling states.

The Department of Law, said the state’s focus was on providing voters the ability to vote separately “on what all sides agreed are three major policy decisions.”

With Friday’s ruling, the state “has clarity going forward in analyzing initiatives under the single-subject rule,” the department said in a statement.

Scott Kendall, an attorney for the ballot group, in a statement said the initiative process “is fundamental to upholding the people’s power in our democratic process, and today’s ruling is a victory for all Alaskans.”

The group said the measure is expected to appear on the November ballot.

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