Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin garnered nearly 30% of the June 11 special primary vote that included a packed field of 48 candidates looking to replace late Congressman Don Young who died unexpectedly in March.

The other top vote getters, according to election night returns, included Nick Begich (19.3%), Al Gross (12.4%) and Mary Peltola (7.4%). If these early numbers hold, these candidates along with front-runner Palin will advance to the August ranked-choice general election to determine who gets to serve out the remaining months of Rep. Young’s term.

The June 11 special primary was the first ever statewide mail-in election in state history.

According to the Division of Elections 108,981 votes were counted on June 11. There were nearly 135,000 ballots received by that day, however, which means tens of thousands of ballots are yet to be tallied. Additionally, ballots that were postmarked by June 11 will also be counted as they arrive.

The second, third and fourth ballot counts will be done June 15, June 17 and June 21, respectively, with a target certification date of June 25.

Since the August special election will be ranked choice voting, an automatic runoff will occur if none of the four finalists earn more than 50% of the vote. In this system, the fourth-place vote getter would be eliminated and all the second-place choices under that candidate’s name would be distributed to the remaining three candidates as first place votes for them. This process would continue until one candidate tallied 50% plus one.

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Palin leads 4 finalists likely to advance in primary to replace Don Young

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Dinah Backford says:

    Wow amazing Sarah Palin

  • Dinah backford says:

    Amazing you go Sarah

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    We so need to get rid of ranked choice voting!

    • James says:

      Other states have been tightening their elections. We went in the other direction here in AK. Guess we’re destined to be a blue state….

    • john W says:

      I wholeheartedly agree; however, its not a solution. Blockchain may be the solution to voting problems, if one was to look foward using existing technologies.

    • Proud Alaskan says:

      So your a loser you get fourth, but still win
      One vote in person with ID

  • Wayne Walton says:

    Election day not week. No reason votes not tallied on election day. Period.

  • volneysmith says:

    If in Alaska we can’t hand count ballets on election day we all know the cheating that will go on. still using machines to count should be illeagle. the ballets in 5 cities will tell the story. All of u in juneau need to go!

  • john otness says:


  • Mike Moore says:

    Great to hear Sarah’s on her way. However, the ranked choice voting is just wrong! I agree with the general consensus here of one vote in person, with ID. It’s the simplest most efficient way to ensure the least corruption.

  • irk says:

    Sarah the only one to vote for!!!
    Go, Go, Sarah!!!!!

  • Sharon says:

    We can’t do anything about Rank Choice voting for two years!!! We need to get rid of it!!! Will the winner of the Primary still win on Election Day or will Rank Choice voting cause the lowest percentage to win?? Crazy!!