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Minimum wage increase, ranked choice repeal have enough signatures to be on ballot

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Minimum wage increase, ranked choice repeal have enough signatures to be on ballot

Feb 28, 2024 | 9:00 am ET
By James Brooks
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Minimum wage increase, ranked choice repeal have enough signatures to be on ballot
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Former state labor commissioner Ed Flanagan, State Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, and the Rev. Michael Burke of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Anchorage wheel boxes of signed petitions into a state Division of Elections office on Jan. 9, 2024. The petitions were for a ballot initiative to increase the state's minimum wage, mandate paid sick leave and ensure that workers are not required to hear employers' political or religious messages. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

A pair of ballot measures have enough public support to appear on this year’s Alaska election ballots, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom said by email Tuesday.

Official certification hasn’t yet taken place, but Dahlstrom said the ongoing signature-verification process shows that each has enough signatures from eligible voters to force a statewide vote.

One measure seeks to turn back the clock on Alaska’s elections system, returning it to what it was before 2020, when Alaskans voted to open the state’s primaries to all voters and to use a system of ranked choice sorting in the general election.

The other measure would raise the state’s minimum wage, ​​mandate paid sick leave and prohibit employers from requiring workers to hear messages about politics or religion.

If the current legislative session lasts past April 22, the measures will appear on the November general election ballot. If the session adjourns before that date, they will appear on the August statewide primary ballot.

Petitioners needed to gather the signatures of 26,705 eligible Alaska voters, with a specified minimum number from at least 30 of the state’s 40 House districts. 

Both ballot measures had at least 34,000 signatures and met the minimum district requirement as of Tuesday, the lieutenant governor said, and counting is expected to continue.