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Assembly action restores fairness to election process

Posted: June 19, 2014 - 4:06pm  |  Updated: June 19, 2014 - 5:13pm

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly this week restored a measure of fairness to the election process when it voted to return the threshold needed to approve changes to the cap on taxable sales to a simple majority of voters.

Since a 2005 ballot initiative, changes to the maximum amount the borough could collect in sales tax required a supermajority of voters — 60 percent — for approval. Assembly member Brent Johnson brought the measure forward. In a memo to the assembly, Johnson noted that the measure allowed a minority of voters to determine the outcome of any ballot items regarding the sales tax cap. The ballot initiative was supported by 54.2 percent of the voters in the 2005 election — short of the threshold the initiative set.

During Tuesday’s assembly meeting, Johnson noted that because of the requirement for a supermajority, the vote of someone wanting to change the sales tax cap is, essentially, not equal to the vote of someone opposed.

“Everybody is equal and everybody should have an equal vote,” Johnson said at the meeting.

With the very strong caveat that we don’t want to see taxes increased, we do agree with Johnson’s sentiments. While the initiative to require a supermajority to approve sales tax changes went through the public process, the public process should never be used to limit the rights of others.

Allowing 40 percent of those casting ballots to determine the outcome of an election would fall into that category.

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