NATIONAL NEWS

Backers of an effort to repeal Alaska’s ranked voting system fined by campaign finance watchdog

Jan 4, 2024, 5:26 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Supporters of an effort to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system have been fined more than $94,000 after the commission that enforces state campaign finance rules found disclosure and other violations.

Kevin Clarkson, an attorney representing the opponents of ranked voting who were fined by the Alaska Public Offices Commission, said they intend to challenge some of the commission’s findings in court, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The commission’s decision, released late Wednesday, is in response to complaints filed by Alaskans for Better Elections, the group that backed the successful 2020 ballot initiative that instituted open primaries and ranked voting in general elections.

The commission found registering and reporting violations by organizers of the effort to repeal the new voting system. The decision comes six months after the original complaint was filed. Since then, Alaskans for Better Elections have filed additional complaints alleging that anti-ranked choice groups have continued to violate state laws despite previous complaints and warnings. The opponents of ranked choice voting have also filed a pending complaint against Alaskans for Better Elections.

The largest of the fines was levied against Art Mathias, who was found to have funneled at least $90,000 to the ballot group behind the repeal effort through a church he formed in Washington. He was fined more than $46,000 for attempting to conceal the source of his contribution and for failing to report his contribution, the newspaper reported.

Clarkson, a former Alaska attorney general, said Mathias and the church would challenge the commission’s findings related to them.

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Backers of an effort to repeal Alaska’s ranked voting system fined by campaign finance watchdog