The Alaska Public Policy Polling survey (7/7-8; 1,081 AK voters via automated response device) also produced a ballot test in the at-large House race between veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), the Dean of the House in seniority who was elected in a 1973 special election, and challenger Alyse Galvin, the 2018 Democratic nominee who fell seven percentage points short of unseating the Congressman, 53-46%. The PPP poll actually finds Ms. Galvin running ahead 43-41% in the new campaign, but such a position is not altogether unusual. In the 2018 campaign, the last poll before the election actually projected Ms. Galvin to a slight one-point advantage.
Public Policy Polling surveyed the Alaska electorate (7/7-8; 1,081 AK voters via automated response device) and finds Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) to be leading his prospective Democratic opponent, surgeon Al Gross, by only a single-digit margin, 39-34 percent. Close polling in Alaska is not surprising because electoral history reveals that such is the typical situation.
The Alaska primary is August 18th, which is the same day that Independents and minor party candidates can qualify for the ballot. The secondary candidates tend to draw more votes in Alaska than in most places. Therefore, they are more significant factors in determining the outcome. This race will begin to attract some political attention after the primary, but unless we see evidence of a strong move away from Sen. Sullivan, the first-term Republican will remain the clear favorite to win in November.
With a re-call effort underway against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), Public Policy Polling, in their aforementioned Alaska poll, asked whether the Governor should be removed from office before his term expires. The re-call effort centers around policy moves the Governor made that re-call proponents say exceeded his power. After time consuming court proceedings, the presiding judge allowed the signature gathering for the re-call to begin. It is unclear whether the bid will qualify for the ballot, however.
In any event, even if the re-call does go to the voters, it may not fare well. According to the PPP results, by a margin of 46-39% the respondents believe the Governor should not be removed from office.
Since the COVID-19 virus became omni-present, a state law was enacted to give the Lt. Governor, the chief elections officer in Alaska, the ability to order an all-mail election. Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) announced that the August 18th primary would proceed as usual, rejecting the all-mail option citing potential voter fraud. Mr. Meyer said, “that’s 600,000 unsecured ballots that are either sitting in the post office, sitting on your kitchen table, or in the garbage can. And that’s very concerning to us.”
After a long court battle, the Alaska Supreme Court ordered that a recall campaign against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) can proceed. Alaska has stringent conditions for launching such an effort, and both sides argued the merits through several court proceedings attempting to determine whether Mr. Dunleavy’s performance in office warranted a recall election.
Now that the recall can proceed, proponents must obtain at least 71,252 valid registered voter signatures to place the petition on the November ballot. Reportedly, the recall drive has so far collected about half the minimum amount needed meaning they have a lot of work ahead of them in an uncertain logistical environment. There is no official established signature deadline as yet, but assumptions presume the petitions must be submitted in early July.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) on Friday signed legislation that allows Alaska election officials to conduct any election scheduled for 2020 exclusively through the mail. This could mean the general election will be conducted via mail as well as the August 18th state primary. The presidential primary, which was administered that way, was held April 11th and awarded former Vice President Joe Biden a 55-45% victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). This contest was held just prior to Sanders’ announcement that he was withdrawing from the race.
Three more states are joining the popular trend of keeping their primary dates intact but changing to an all-mail system. The Alaska state Senate unanimously voted to stay with their August 18th state primary as scheduled but will instead conduct the election through the mail. An amendment to allow non-postal receptacle ballot depositing was defeated, however. The change to a mail system in response to COVID-19 precautions is expected to be adopted.
The Indiana Election Commission has agreed to waive the requirement to produce a reason for voting an absentee ballot after it moved the state’s May 5th primary to June 2nd. For this election, any voter who wants to vote through the mail can do so.
Nebraska election officials are continuing with their May 12th election but will allow counties to send mail ballots to their residents.
Governors and election officials in several more states are making changes in their election calendars due to COVID-19 virus precautions.
The Alaska presidential primary will now be an all-mail operation. Therefore, the deadline for sending in ballots has been moved from April 4th to April 10th. The state primary remains scheduled for August 18th.
Hawaii officials have cancelled the in-person option for the April 4th presidential primary. Instead, the election will be conducted solely through the mail. The state primary remains on August 8th.
The New York Attorney General has recommended to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) that the state’s presidential primary remain on April 28th but be conducted through the mail. No action has yet occurred regarding changing the June 23rd state primary election date.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who postponed the March 17th presidential and state primary and potentially moved it to June 2nd, is considering changing to an all-mail system. This is largely because thousands have votes were already cast through the mail in anticipation of the originally scheduled primary.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has reached an agreement with Republican legislative leaders to move the April 28th presidential and state primary to June 2nd. An announcement of such is imminent.
The Puerto Rico presidential primary has been transferred from March 29th to April 26th.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) also signed an executive order moving the state’s presidential primary from April 28th to June 2nd. The state primary will remain set for September 1st.
The Alaska Division of Elections leadership yesterday voided a citizen-based recall petition against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) saying it does not meet legal qualifications. Under Alaska state law, a Governor may be recalled for lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, or corruption. The group was accusing Gov. Dunleavy of not appointing a Superior Court judge within the 45-day mandated vacancy period, cutting funding for the Judiciary, and sending partisan messages through state-funded communication pieces. At this point, the recall effort will not continue. Gov. Dunleavy next faces voters in 2022.
At-large US Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), the Dean of the House of Representatives with 46 years of service after winning a special election in 1973, announced that he will run for a 24th term next year. It looks like we may see a re-match of the 53-47% campaign ran in 2018. Also looking to declare her candidacy is the 2018 Democratic nominee, Alyse Galvin.
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