Alaska’s Constitution, when compared to most other states, is held in high esteem. In the 1955 background research leading to development of our constitution much thought was given to the shortcomings of the other 48 state constitutions. It is considered a model and is looked up to by other states.
There have been changes over the years. Some have been made by ballot initiative and some have been made by legislative referral. Since 1966 a total of 42 legislative constitutional amendments have been proposed. Voters ratified 28.
Alaska allows constitutional amendments to be referred to a state-wide ballot after a two-thirds vote in the state legislature. If our constitution needs to be amended, this is a proven approach, having been used successfully 28 times since Statehood. Unlike a convention, proposed changes are considered individually. An amendment would be researched, debated, and vetted in a deliberative way without the political theater of a convention. Requiring a super-majority of legislators to approve a constitutional amendment for the ballot is a high bar – for a reason. Our constitution shouldn’t be changed without broad public support.
Our founding document has served us well since 1959. Extensive alterations are unnecessary, and a constitutional convention is not the mechanism best suited to make incremental modifications.
Voting no on an Alaska constitutional convention in 2022 is the single most important vote you may ever cast!
• George Elgee is a founding partner of Elgee Rehfeld Certified Public Accountants.