KNBA - KBC

voting rights

August 19, 2016

By Molly Dischner, KDLG - Dillingham

When Alaskans went to the polls this week, some had new options for language assistance. Expanded help for Yup’ik, Gwich’in and Inupiaq speakers was the result of a lawsuit brought against the state in 2013. A team of state elections officials and those involved in the lawsuit traveled to three Bristol Bay communities to see how the provisions worked out on primary day.

5/10/16

Legislation restricts who can teach sexual education, and postpone standardized testing for two years.

State struggles to translate ballots into six dialects of Yup'ik language, and Gwitchin Athabascan, as KSKA's Anne Hillman reports.

Vote!

It's always important to vote and get your voice heard, but today's election has a couple of races that are very close, making every vote potentially the one that could decide whether Democrats stay in the majority in the U.S. Senate, and whether Alaska will have a  new Governor in January.

As the U.S. Supreme Court declines to review appeals from five states seeking to prohibit same sex marriage, a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Alaska's ban on Friday.

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U.S. Senate candidates Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan woo Alaska Native voters

As KYUK's Ben Matheson reports, this year's U.S. Senate race in Alaska is shattering spending records, with tens of millions of dollars from outside Alaska going mostly toward TV ads. With less than two months to go before the general election, the two candidates are also seeking an edge on the ground in rural Alaska.

Alaskans will find out the size of the Permanent Fund dividends in a week. Dividends based on the five-year investment earnings are distributed annually to eligible Alaska residents. KTUU reports three Polaris School students estimated this year's PFD amount at $1,909.  

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A federal district court has sided with four villages who filed suit saying the state needs to do more to protect voting rights of non-English speaking Alaskans.  The state of Alaska said because the languages are not written, it was doing enough by providing oral translations. However, attorneys for the plaintiffs says poll workers are not directed nor paid to provide oral translations at the polls.

Joaqlin Estus / Koahnic Broadcasting

Testifying in a voters' rights case, Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai says villages with sizable populations of limited English speakers beat the state's average turnout in the 2012 Presidential election. However, absentee and early ballots are not counted in turnout numbers. She was testifying in a case in which villages and elders say the state failed to provide complete translations of voting materials into Native languages. The state says it has met legal requirements.  

State election officials testifying in court said they work hard to help Native language speakers and to recruit bilingual outreach workers.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill asks SBA for information that would show if 2011 requirements for Alaska Native corporations engaged in federal contracting are working.

The comment period on a proposed rule that would allow the Dept. of Interior to accept applications to place land in Alaska in trust.

Testifying in court on a case alleging the state has failed to provide full language assistance to Alaska Natives in elections, an expert witness cited the requirement in Territorial days when Alaska Natives were not allowed citizenship unless they renounced their own culture.

Donlin Gold and The Kuskokwim Corporation have signed an agreement for Donlin's proposed gold mine 120 miles upriver from Bethel.

The state seeks to join a lawsuit over a road through the Izembeck National Wildlife Refuge linking King Cove to an all-weather airport at Cold Bay.

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