Each day we awake to find that, despite the hopes of turning things around, our culture has become a veritable lunatic asylum. The term “bedlam” means confusion and insanity, but it originated with the name of London’s infamous insane asylum. In the 19th century, citizens were entertained by watching the antics of the madmen in a commons. The observation fees went to support the institution!

If you haven’t noticed, Alaska is not immune to this. At the recent constitutional convention debate with John Coghill, he mentioned that popular will is often flawed, and used the passage of Ranked Choice Voting as an example. I seriously doubted that it had actually been honestly passed, and asked the audience to show, by applause, if they thought so, too. The agreement was overwhelming, and I do believe that John reluctantly thought so as well.

With the passing of Congressman Don Young, we are about to see bedlam personified with the cockamamie Special Primary Election, Special Congressional Election and Regularly Scheduled Primary. Who ever wins this maelstrom of confusion will find themselves “Congressman for a Day,” – a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.

I wonder, how many names will appear? It will truly be a jungle primary. I know people who are running for statewide federal office who have lived in Alaska less than a year. Will there be ten? Fifty? Hundreds?

In a recent interview I had with the Lt. Governor’s office, here is what we can expect:

An April 1st deadline for candidates registering for a mail-in only special Prop 2 Primary on June 11th.

Catch that: I want to know why we can’t show up at a polling place. Who believes the Covid Capers anymore? Are to trust the malefactions of the infamous Dominion voting machines, which will in this instance only determine who are the Top Four winners.

I wonder, how many names will appear? It will truly be a jungle primary. I know people who are running for statewide federal office who have lived in Alaska less than a year. Will there be ten? Fifty? Hundreds? Will the names be alphabetized or randomly juggled in lots? Will you be able to find your ONE choice? Will people spoil their ballots by mistakenly writing down their rankings inside the little black-out circle anyway?

The Special Congressional Election will be held on the same day as the August 16th Regular Primary. Voters who go to the polls will then rank their choices. And again, we are to trust the mail-in ballots and the Dominion machines, which will grind through this untested and generally suspicious system and … Ta Da! Announce the winner for “Congressman for a Day”!

This is because the winner of the Special Election will serve in a seat that takes them merely to the end of Don Young’s unfinished term, officially expiring Jan. 3, 2023, but effectively ending at the usual November General Election – barring the usual banal and brief “lame duck Congress.”

Gasp! We cannot allow Alaska to be without its representative for another few months, something that happens in other states quite often when a death occurs.

Then on the same day – and on the same ballot – Alaskans will vote in the Regular Primary, again with an unknown number of names, which will also include the same four people they just saw (on the same ballot) for the Special Election!

But why? Because that will be the primary that sets the table for the November General election, thus a full two-year seat for Alaska’s lone member of the US House of Representatives.

Gasp! We cannot allow Alaska to be without its representative for another few months, something that happens in other states quite often when a death occurs. Much better to spend millions of dollars on this and create idiotic confusion in the minds of many, if not most, voters.

And, as an extra added attraction, when the smoke clears somewhere in early to mid-September and we know who will be “Congressman for a Day,” who is going to be in the Washington Beltway? The House will soon be in recess for campaigning … something our Congressman for a Day had better be doing, too, for the far more important two-year term which will be decided in November.

Consider the fodder that the opponents will use against our Congressman for a Day: “Mr. X ought to have been doing his job in Washington, but instead came back to campaign and pander to his constituents!”

Don’t blame Lt. Governor Meyer or Gov. Dunleavy for this one. They are merely following the poorly thought-out statutory guidelines, crafted in reaction to Gov. Frank Murkowski’s appointment of his ditzy daughter to the US Senate in 2002. Dunleavy and Meyer don’t want to be another Marxist Anchorage Assembly, which cheerfully disdained the city’s charter a year ago, postponing a mayoral election they feared.

But in this case, a postponement might have been better, allowing the normative process to run its course, allowing the seat to remain vacant. It might have gotten bi-partisan support for the sake of saving the state the $2.5 million to run a Special Election and the far worse result of confusion.

And let’s admit it: all three branches of government cheerfully disdain federal and state constitutions and statutes all the time. Witness the unfulfilled required formula for the PFD, unconstitutional federal properties, the seizure of power by the federal and state judiciaries.

I recall a Biblical saying: “Woe unto ye! You strain at the gnat, but swallow the camel!”

OK, strict obedience to statutes and constitutions is good, but how about applying it to the other, far more egregious violations? Bi-partisan correction will hopefully soon come down the pike from the State Legislature: get rid of Ranked Choice Voting and readjust the parameters of a Special Election, perhaps authorizing a common-sense compromise between the Governor and the Legislature when one occurs at an awkward time in the calendar.

Bedlam reigns in our culture. It was only logical that it should follow in our electoral process.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Bedlam reigns in Alaska’s lunatic election asylum

Bob Bird
Bob Bird ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008. He is a past president of Alaska Right to Life, a 47-year Alaska resident and a retired public school teacher. He has a passion for studying and teaching Alaska and U.S. constitutional history. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula and is currently a daily radio talk-show host for The Talk of the Kenai, on KSRM 920 AM from 3-5 pm and heard online


  • James says:

    April 1 and a $100 filing fee? Why not throw your name in.

  • Marie Fremlin says:

    What happens if we only choose 1 person and ignore this 2nd,3rd & 4th ranking system? Do our papers get marked ‘incomplete’ by the teacher and thrown out? But seriously, are they counted or not? This ranking idea must have come from someone who filled out too many hospital menus.

    • Punahele says:

      Good Question! I’ve thought about that also. What if I only want one person?

    • Incoming Sh!tstorm says:

      I called the elections office and asked this very question. The answer I got was that you are allowed to only fill in for one candidate and that the remaining should be left blank. I asked her if doing this seemed like a good opportunity to have someone else fill them in for me after I voted. After a brief silence she said, no, I don’t think anything like that would ever happen. Take that as you will. As for myself, I’m back to square one. I may just put one of my Biden, “I Did That” stickers on the ballot and send it in.

    • Mary says:

      There is a way for a looser to win in Rank Choice Voting. It has been explained to me that if a looser campaigns correctly, he/she can actually steal enough votes to win.

    • kris spencer says:

      This was talked about at a meeting I attended recently. You HAVE to vote a 2nd, 3rd and 4th. I was told that’s the way it works and you ballot might be questioned if you do not. Ranked choice is not legal in my humble opinion. Should never have happened.

  • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

    YES, YOUR BALLOT WILL BE TOSSED OUT FOR VOTING FOR JUST ONE CANDIDATE IN RANK CHOICE VOTING. Learned that at the local Republican District Convention last weekend.

    • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

      This apparently does not apply, however, to the special election on June 11, when we do only choose one.

    • kris spencer says:

      Yes, this is what I have heard too. Ranked choice needs to be investigated. How can it possibly be legal?

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Rank choice voting is so Stupid.
    Paper ballots one vote with ID at your local poling place.
    What’s so wrong with that, how many years have we been doing this.
    It’s all about lies, stealing and cheating to get there way. Then they try to control you with more mandates and lockdowns It’s madness

  • Me says:

    Why don’t we start a campaign to get thousands of people to put their name on the ballot? The best way to expose this nonsense is to break the system.

    • Karl W Speights says:

      Our find the best and start an email write-in campaign. Enough vote by write in, it may garner the 51% votes, and a conservative win. See my comment below.

  • Me says:

    Seriously, register by April 1 – how appropriate – our elections are a joke, we might as well treat them that way and send a message:

  • Trained Observer says:

    This will be a piss-in-the-wind selection method, considering that throwing ones’ hat in the ring will not provide for an opportunity to vet a candidate before the mail-in-only ballot primary. There will be so many names that it will be near impossible to rank then. Our only hope is that there will be no arbitrary ballot invalidating, if only one name is colored in as ones’ vote. I suggest making one choice, and putting a vertical line through choices 2 thru 4.

  • Opus says:


  • Karl W Speights says:

    If enough people use the option for a write in candidate that is supposedly available, whether they are registered or not. may be a concerted “grass roots” effort to get the 51% required for a first round win. Pre-pick your best conservative, patriotic, non-traditional man or woman of God – candidate. One who has the ability, knowledge and experience to perform in the position, and run a three – six month campaign (Aug-Oct) + (Nov-Jan). I agree with Bob’s supposition that in November; the same individual, needs the same people, to write in the same… ‘to win the General Election’. My concern is that we have people who can use technology to access virtually anything done on a network or computerized system. Not just hackers, like in the 2020 elections, where many of us received a letter from the Lt Governor that our personal data was hacked. I’m more concerned with what happens in the general election after the first vote occurs and no one receives 51% of the vote to win in the first round. Then the lowest candidate drop-off occurs and the next three are adjudicated by an algorithm to try for 51%, possibly another 51% and then a vote-off for the final two standing… garnering the majority vote as the victor. Looks like “We the People” have once again been duped that it’s the most secure voting “ever”. At least in Acts Chapter 1, verses 15-26. We learned three things about Biblical Voting. #1. When Judas hung himself and/or fell headlong and died for betraying Jesus, we learned 12 (12 represents the number for government) disciples were needed. The disciples had to fill Judas’ vacancy. #2, The 120 selected their best choices; the two people they chose needed to have seen Jesus’ miracles and His ascension… as “witnesses”. In the upper room it was discussed and the two they chose for the 12th disciple were Matthias, and Justice. Then the 120 in the upper room and the 3000 in the village, #3. PRAYED to God for HIS choice. The LOTS (vote by highest number on four dice) were thrown, and God chose Matthias. Government rests on God’s shoulders, not ours. So, it’s not man or woman trying/vying to be elected as a “public servant”, but rather… being elected you first need to be as… a servant of God.