Alaska Senator Mark Begich is standing by statements he made about voting access in Alaska after a state official criticized those remarks.
In his annual address to the Alaska Legislature this week, Begich said he’s concerned about recent trends in the state making voting more difficult, especially for Alaska Natives and other minorities. He said the Parnell Administration has fought against Native language ballots and is seeking to overturn part of the federal Voting Rights Act.
In a letter to Begich on Wednesday, Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai strongly disputed that the state has imposed any obstacles to voting. She also said Alaska is not challenging the section of the Voting Rights Act that mandates a “robust” language assistance program.
Begich Spokeswoman Heather Handyside responded Thursday. In a statement she said the Senator’s remarks “were accurate and reflect the troubling experiences he’s been hearing from many rural Alaskans.” She also called it “sadly ironic” that Fenumiai cited the Voting Rights Act, parts of which the Parnell administration has sought to change or do away with in court.
- The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
- Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
- Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
- The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.