13 October 2006

Voting for PFDs

I'm in the ADN again today:

Your editorial Oct. 5 celebrating 25 years of Permanent Fund payouts and reminding Alaskans of our constitutional obligations was well-timed ("25 years, 25 grand"). The first direct deposits of dividends this year came the day after municipal elections around the state.

A citizen's most basic obligation is to shape the course of society by voting for the senators, representatives, councilmen and board members who guide life in Alaska. In Nome, just one in three voters bothered to vote Oct. 3, despite protracted public debates this past year about city and school budget proposals, the sales tax and a proposed mine just north of town. Statewide, in August's primary election, 35 percent of voters cast ballots despite a hotly contested Republican primary and a couple ballot propositions.

So how about this? You only get a Permanent Fund dividend if you voted in the most recent state election. If you can take five minutes every two years, the state will give you a several-hundred- (or thousand-) dollar gift. If you can't take the time, sorry, no PFD.

We'd have to refine the proposal to account for those who are ineligible to vote either because of age or criminal background. But on the whole, I agree with your editorial board: Let's connect the rights of citizens more closely to our obligations.

---- Jesse Zink


Not a new idea, if you've been here before.

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