Rank it, Flip it, Be Heard

Ranked-Choice voting is here, Alaska! Our new ranked-choice voting system will be used for the first time on August 16 to fill former Rep. Don Young's seat in the House of Representatives. It's time to learn about the process and start researching to choose candidates and ballot measures that represent your values. 

The open primary in June narrowed the field of primary candidates down to three: Sarah Palin, Nick Begich, and Mary Peltola. At the same time they rank candidates for the special election, voters will also choose one primary candidate to advance to the general election for the permanent House position along with Governor/Lt. Governor, US Senate, and State Senate and House Representatives for various districts across the state. You will pick one candidate for each of the primary races on the front of your ballot, then flip your ballot and rank the three running for the US. Special Election.

After voters make their choices on Election Day, all the absentee, early, and election day ballots will be counted, and all voters' first-place choices will be tallied. If no candidate gets over 50% of the votes in the first round, the least popular candidate will be eliminated, and the votes for them reassigned to their voters' second-choice picks. This process will continue until one candidate has over half of the votes. While it is not required to rank all four (or, in this case, three) candidates, it is recommended because it means that your voice can be heard throughout the entire election, not just in the first round.

While ranked-choice voting is brand new in Alaska, it's used successfully in states and cities throughout the country, including for federal elections in Maine and recently in the election for New York City mayor. Ranked-choice voting is just as secure and effective as more traditional voting forms. The new system means that our votes will go further, and our preferences will still be counted even if our first-choice candidate doesn't win. 

Because the August 16 election is a statewide general election, it will be conducted in person at local polling places, unlike recent Anchorage Municipal elections and special primaries. Anyone who wishes to vote by mail for any reason must request an absentee ballot at least ten days before Election Day and make sure that their ballot is postmarked on or before election day.

It's important to be an informed voter on Election Day. Stay tuned for next week's blog to learn which candidates The Alaska Center will be endorsing for races across the state. 

As always, thanks for voting. 

The Alaska Center

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