Last call at the polls

votingDepending on when you’re reading this, you’re either:

a) Basking in the satisfaction of having cast your ballot in the 2014 primary election
b) Soon-to-be basking in the satisfaction of having cast your ballot in the 2014 primary election
c) Feeling ashamed at having foregone voting
d) Not feeling much of anything

The referendum

You may have heard about a little thing called Ballot Measure 1, “An act relating to the oil and gas production tax, interest rates on overdue taxes, and tax credit.” Actually, you’d practically have to withdraw from society to evade its machinations. Millions of dollars and a bunch of flustered Alaskans can make a lot of noise.

The one thing everybody can agree on is that the referendum is one of the most important in the state’s history. A ‘yes’ vote will repeal the current oil tax system — known as SB 21 or the More Alaska Production Act, or MAPA— and revert to the previous law, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share, or ACES.

A ‘no’ vote will keep MAPA in place. The key difference between the two complex laws is the amount producers are taxed when oil prices rise. MAPA lacks the progressive rate found in ACES that brings greater revenues when net profits per barrel rise past $30. At very high prices ACES taxes per barrel profits as much as 50 percent.

Opponents of Ballot Measure 1 say ACES discourages production. Supporters say MAPA is a multibillion dollar giveaway to Big Oil. Both sides say an incorrect decision on the issue will send Alaska down a path to fiscal devastation.

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US Senate, US House, lieutenant governor

Voters registered as Republican, Nonpartisan or Undeclared can weigh in on GOP candidates for U.S. Senate. Tea Party darling Joe Miller is back again after ousting Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 primary, only to lose to her as a write-in candidate in the general election. His key primary opponents, Mead Treadwell and Dan S. Sullivan (not the mayor of Anchorage) are much better-funded in their quest to defeat Democrat Mark Begich.

A hodgepodge of candidates are vying for Don Young’s job in the U.S. House. Democratic-endorsed Forrest Dunbar, 29, has been effective in grabbing the attention of younger voters, and hopes to square off against an incumbent who entered office well before he was born.

Democratic Sen. Hollis French and Mat-Su teacher Bob Williams are both running for lieutenant governor. French is the chosen running partner for gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott, who, if elected, would become the first-ever Alaska Native/Native American governor in the United States.


Where to vote

Absentee voting locations for all districts, open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. include the UAA Student Union (3211 Providence Drive), Ted Stevens International Airport (main terminal-car rental lobby), Anchorage City Hall (632 W. 6th Ave.) and the Region II Elections Office (2525 Gambell St. Suite 100)

If you’re unregistered or unsure, casting a primary ballot will automatically register you to vote in the Nov. 4 general election.