Ballot Measure 1 takes up more than a page of Alaska’s primary ballot. It includes technical information about tax credits for North Slope producers, and explains how a barrel of Alaska oil is valued and taxed. Many voters, however, say they’re confused by what otherwise would be a simple yes-or-no vote on the measure, which seeks to repeal Senate Bill 21. “I’ve seen a lot of ‘No on 1’ and ‘Yes on 1’ signs, but it’s really confusing what it means,” said voter Jenny Lynes. In Ballot Measure 1’s case, voting “yes” at the polls actually means “no” to SB21, Gov. Sean Parnell’s reduction of oil taxes passed by the state Legislature and signed into law in 2013. A “no” vote actually means “yes” to keeping the law on the books. The legislation itself is also complex, setting a tax rate for oil produced in the state and the profits for oil companies and the state of Alaska. The law went into effect in January of this year. It’s the only ballot question facing voters in the Aug. 19 primary.
Initiatives that would decriminalize pot, raise the minimum wage and require legislative approval for future large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve were moved to the Nov. 4 general election.
“The other initiatives, there are a certain number of days that have to pass from the date that the legislative session adjourns, and the date of the next scheduled election, and it’s 120 days,” said Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai.