From the Desk of
House Speaker Gail Phillips

October 8, 1998

 

Dear Parent:

Each April, my staff sends a letter to high school seniors warning them NOT to register to vote while they are out-of-state attending college or for some other reason. In fact, we enclose an Alaska voter registration form in the letter and encourage students to register before they leave the state. I make every attempt to let them know that, if they register to vote in another state, They Will Lose Their Permanent Fund Dividend!

However, many of these students are not reading my letter thoroughly or understanding it. Each year my office receives several calls, usually from parents, asking me to help their children get their Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). They say their children did not know they shouldn’t register and were just excited about voting in an election usually for the first time since they just turned 18. I sincerely regret that I cannot help them – nor can anyone else. Their Permanent Fund Dividend is lost. The law is very clear about denying PFDs to individuals who register and/or vote in another state’s election. If the student wants to vote, he or she should register in Alaska, request an absentee ballot and then return the ballot to the Alaska Division of Elections.

Fortunately, recent changes now allow students who have been denied their dividends for the current year -- solely because they registered or voted in another state -- to qualify for the following year. Once they have been disqualified to receive a PFD and if they don’t want to lose the next year’s PFD as well, these students must register to vote in Alaska. In other words, while there is no way to get the denied PFD back, if they meet the other qualifications, they can get future PFDs by changing their voter registration so they become registered in Alaska. They no longer have to miss semesters of school because of the former requirement that they remain in the state for at least 6 months in order to qualify for the following years’ PFDs.

Many parents have told me that their children receive so many letters and forms in their last semester in high school, that they can’t possibly read them all. Therefore, I am sending this letter in the fall and to senior students’ parents hoping that you will be sure to read it and to warn your children who may be going out-of-state about the potential danger of losing their PFDs. I am hopeful that we can avoid another year of desperate phone calls from so many parents and students who have been denied their PFDs.

Sincerely,

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Gail Phillips
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

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