January 23, 2016

CONTACT: Jake Hamburg (907) 258-3077


Alaska Democrats Take Step to Welcome Independent Candidates in Primary

JUNEAU: Today the Alaska Democratic Party State Central Committee adopted a pilot proposal to allow the majority of Alaskans not affiliated with a political party to run in their 2016 primary.

“We want our party to be as inclusive as possible,” said Casey Steinau, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. “We are excited for the opportunity to let more people participate and give voters more choices in the primary.”

Currently, those unaffiliated with a political party may only run by petition in the General Election and do not have the option to appear on a Primary ballot. The Alaska Democratic Party bylaws have historically allowed any registered voter, regardless of party affiliation, to vote in the party’s open primary ballot unlike the closed Republican ballot.

“We are at an unprecedented time in Alaska’s history and must put an end to politics as usual by continuing to welcome independent thinkers,” said Steinau. “Alaskans want to debate ideas, not political labels.”

Alaska Democrats have a right to consider supporting candidates, regardless of party affiliation. This change to the party’s bylaws will enable Alaskans unaffiliated with a party to run as candidates in the 2016 Democratic primary and compete for the party’s nomination. Those unaffiliated with any political party would still have the choice to run by petition and not seek the Alaska Democratic Party’s nomination. The party will ask the state to implement this change for the upcoming election.

“We want to reach out to and include the majority of Alaskans not affiliated with a political party,” said Steinau, “and this is one way to do that.”

The majority of Alaskans are not affiliated with a political party. It is with the support of Independents that Alaska Democrats and progressive-backed Independents have won elections from the municipal to the statewide level.