By AlaskaWatchman.com

The day after Alaska held its first-ever ranked-choice vote general election, a petition against the controversial voting system was launched to do away with the scheme.

Posted on Nov. 9, the petition has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures in its first week.

Titled, “Stop Ranked Choice Voting in Alaska,” the petition states: “Ranked Choice Voting has confused voters, split parties on purpose, and given votes to candidates who did not earn those votes. No matter the party, ranked choice voting is a threat to democracy and our Republic!”

Ranked choice voting narrowly passed in the 2020 general election – 50.5% to 49.4% – and was widely seen among conservatives as a scheme to ensure that Sen. Lisa Murkowski was reelected to the U.S. Senate without having to win a Republican primary.

The release of undercover videos by Project Veritas back in August showed paid staffers with Murkowski’s reelection campaign detailing how that the leftist Republican lawmaker was quietly supporting passage of ranked choice voting in Alaska back in 2020.

The Aug. 10 video features Josiah Nash, Murkowski’s campaign interior coordinator, stating that Murkowski “stayed quiet” when Ballot Measure 2 went before voters, but that she “supports” the new scheme.

The Alaska Legislature has the authority to overturn ranked choice voting in the upcoming legislative session.

“Between you and me, Ballot Measure 2 was actually created – I think it was created for two reasons,” Nash says on the video. “Number one, it was created because there were people in this state who wanted to see a better system, but they also wanted Lisa to get re-elected.”

Ranked choice voting does away with all party primaries, which makes it easier for left-leaning candidates like Murkowski to avoid having to court Republicans in order to make it to the general election. Additionally, the new system is confusing to many voters.

“In Alaska, unfortunately, the state’s new ranked-choice voting (RCV) system can be a complicated disincentive,” the Alaska Policy Forum observed last month. “The work required to be an informed voter and rank all candidates on the ballot requires more time, interest, and information than many voters have to spare. Confronting voters with a multitude of candidates can dissuade them from voting in certain races or, in some cases, from voting at all.”

Alaska’s RCV ballot instructs voters to rank up to four candidates per office, with an optional write-in for each. The lowest performing candidate in round one is eliminated and all the second-choice votes on those ballots are then redistributed to the remaining candidates as “first place” votes. This process continues until someone achieves more than 50% of the vote, or until all rounds are completed.

This past weekend, conservative Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who is attempting to unseat Murkowski, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the ranked choice system was “put in place by Murkowski’s allies and her campaign staff that was exposed in those undercover videos. So, we know that the system was rigged in her favor.”

Many of those who have signed the petition against ranked-choice voting say Alaska should return to its traditional system in which candidates must first win their party primary before facing off in the general. That old system allowed parties to vet and vote for their top candidates, which is no longer possible.

The primaries are now open to all candidates with the top four facing off in the general. This can lead to multiple Republicans running against each other in the general, as happed in the U.S. House race where Sarah Palin and Nick Begich split the Republican vote. It also opens the door for a candidate like Murkowski, who lost in the first round of the general to ultimately prevail if a Democrat – like Patricia Chesbro – is eliminated and her second-choice votes are given to Murkowski as “first choice” votes.

The Alaska Legislature has the authority to overturn ranked choice voting in the upcoming legislative session.

Click here to read the petition against ranked-choice voting.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Petition calls Alaska’s ranked-choice voting a ‘threat to democracy and our Republic’

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


33 Comments

  • Leigh says:

    Signing the petition on the ranked choice voting article is a nightmare. Make it simple without a bunch of pop up junk nobody wants to deal with.

  • Lobo says:

    Yes.. we need to do away with “Rigged Choice Voting”.. But, again.. We are not a “democracy”.. We are a “Republic”.. There is a big difference.

    • Steven Chappell says:

      Yes, we are a Constitutional Republic, but we exercise the democratic process of electing are representation and rank choice vote is not a democratic process. One PERSON One VOTE that is what are Republic is based on not his garbage.

  • Reggie Taylor says:

    Good luck. You have to know that Democrats, RINOs, unions, and everybody who loves abortion will be fighting to keep ranked choice voting in place.

  • Kasey says:

    The Legislature????????? Good luck with that!

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    One thing not mentioned from our understanding is that there is no way to challenge an election. Ranked choice from my understanding eliminates the ability to determine whether the race was fraudulent. No checks on it. Additionally, another thing which should be outlawed in Alaska is the Dominion voting machine or any other system that can use algorithms to rig the election. Mat-Su is leading us to get rid of the machines that can alter the votes.
    Ranked choice should be unlawful because my vote is not final. It seems more like gambling, throwing the dice. The legislature needs to effectively take over how the voting is done. The problem with the legislature is that the George Soros supported people have instructions to block any conservative/Christian laws that travel through the process successfully. Then a leftist judge blocks it According to Giulani the legislatures are in charge of elections. That should mean that a leftist judge cannot alter the decision of the legislature. The judge is violating the separation of powers just like they did for Governor Dunleavy’s line item vetoes. Has anyone tried to challenge our judges by appealing to the next level outside of the state? Just wondering.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    I really do wonder if RCV was foisted upon us by ballot harvesting – very few people actually voted for it. Do you know anyone that voted for it? I have asked dozens of people and have yet to find one. We need to join forces to push to remove RCV, clean up our voter logs and eliminate mail in voting. If we fail at these, then At the very least we need to take a page from Florida and Wisconsin and thwart ballots harvesting, which depends on the voter rolls full of people that are deceased or no longer live here. There is a reason Democrats do not want voter rolls cleaned up. For a good read go to the American Thinker website and read the article about what Wisconsin did to throw a huge wrench in ballot harvesting. I don’t think we can paste a link but the title is How Wisconsin Streetfighters Disrupted a Democrat Ballot-Gathering System – by Jay Valentine.
    Truly we can do this.

    • Richard K CORBeil says:

      I don’t know any, but I run with mostly a conservative crowd. My liberal friends and I don’t talk politics much.

  • FreedomAK says:

    When will ill-informed or just ignorant people stop referring to our governmental system as a democracy? Stop and do some rudimentary research. Start with Article IV, Section IV of the US constitution. Knuckleheads….

    • Richard K CORBeil says:

      Never. It is as common as referring to a magazine as a clip. While the level of inaccurate may be frustrating, don’t expect it to change. it is however a good tool to use in an argument with a liberal, as they use the term frequently and they tend to get flustered when corrected.

  • Dean says:

    Interesting that while there are some cities and counties that use ranked choice voting, there are only two states that currently use RCV. The first state to adopt it was Maine (home to Republican Senator Susan Collins) and now Alaska courtesy of Lisa Murkowski. Now they have two things in common. They are ranked #1 and #2 who vote with the Biden administration 69% and 67% of the time. I’m sure I’ll be called a conspiracy nut for suggesting they conspired together to get it implemented in their home states.

  • AK Pilot says:

    I cannot understand why so many people are opposed to a system that ensures the winner of an election actually has a majority of votes. Georgia and Louisiana have runoff elections (if no one gets 50%, the top two face off head-to-head) and no one accuses those systems of being “a threat to democracy and our Republic”. Ranked choice voting accomplishes the same result but simply occurs at the same time as the general election, saving society the time and expense of carrying out an additional election, which is why it is also known as “instant runoff voting”. Other benefits include eroding the two-party dominance in our politics by giving minor party/independent candidates a chance without being “spoilers” and, similarly, allowing the voters to vote their consciences (on their first choice) without “throwing their votes away”.

    So what are the downsides? It occasionally gives us a result we don’t like? Look around the country; in the 46 states using pure plurality voting there have been a lot of results I didn’t like this year and many of those candidates did not win a majority of votes cast. It’s confusing? I blame publications such as this for taking the last 2 years to attack RCV instead of objectively explaining to their readers how it works. Impossible to audit? That’s a fair one but not entirely true; while auditing RCV elections is certainly more tedious it is not impossible. Australia has used RCV for over 100 years and there was plenty of experimentation with the system in North America during the first half of the 20th Century; in all cases ballots are/were counted by hand.

    Obviously Lisa Murkowski and her allies wanted RCV in Alaska because they thought it would give her an electoral advantage, but that doesn’t make it a bad system. I’m sure I’ll catch a lot of flak on here for saying what I’ve said, but truth is truth. Convince me otherwise and I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong.

    • Steve says:

      AK Pilot, can you tell me what was wrong with the One person, one vote system? Did you read Ruth Ewig question about how would you challenge RCV outcome? And for your information Lisa has used the courts, and now RCV to insure her re-elections, is that okay with you?

      • AK Pilot says:

        I don’t know what you mean by “one person, one vote”; there is nothing about RCV that gives some people more votes than others. I’m not sure where you live but I’ll bet you’re not complaining that Anchorage had a runoff election for Mayor in 2021 in which Bronson won; a RCV election would have likely produced the same result faster and at a lower cost. Are you saying that those of us who voted in the general election should not have been allowed to vote in the runoff (since we would be voting “twice”)? Referring to the U.S. Senate race it will likely come down to Kelly vs. Lisa and your vote for Kelly will count the whole time, as will mine. I want Lisa out of office as much as anyone else but I want a fair system and I want conservatives to win fairly; just because a system might produce a result I don’t want doesn’t make it unfair.

        As for what is wrong with plurality voting, which is what I assume you mean by “one person, one vote” however inaccurate that description may be, the dominance of two major parties is a huge negative. Have you noticed how negative political campaigns have become? That’s only possible in a system where you only need to campaign “against” the other guy (since there’s only one other serious choice) and you don’t need to be “for” anything. Are you opposed to the Libertarian party, the Constitution party or the Alaska Independence Party having a seat at the table? In a RCV system people can vote for minor parties or independent candidates they actually support without “throwing their votes away” which, in time, can actually make those parties viable.

        Ruth’s concerns about auditing RCV elections are based on the right’s fear-mongering and she provides no evidence for her claims; again I will point out that Australia has been using RCV, and counting those ballots by hand, for over 100 years. Is the process perhaps more tedious? Yes, but it is certainly possible. If you’re worried about election integrity, as I am, what we need to do is clean up our voter rolls, end mail-in voting and limit absentee voting to those who are genuinely unable to vote in person.

    • Nicholas says:

      I don’t know what system of voting you’re referring to, nor who it is that doesn’t like it, that does not require the winner to have a majority of the votes. The problem with RCV is that one is not required to rank more than one candidate. So not every ballot will take part in the second round of voting because some will only vote for the fourth place candidate. Even more for the third round as less people will have ranked three candidates (I know I didn’t have three candidates who represented my values in any one race). When someone is declared the winner with more than 50% of the vote, this is only referring to the ballots counted in that round. It is possible, and has happened, where the winner received less than 50% of ALL the ballots cast because ballots where not counted for lack of candidates ranked or for being improperly filled out (maybe the first round was correct but subsequent rounds where wrong). In principle, RCV is wrong because someone who votes only for the fourth place candidate will not have their ballot counted, at all, in the second or third rounds, while a vote for the third place finisher will get you to the second round; and if you ranked second one of the two finalists, this makes you special enough to be counted in the final round. It comes down to “one man, one vote.” If you do not rank an eligible candidate, you are essentially passed over and might as well have not showed up. Yes, I know that for at least one round you are counted but when they announce a winner beyond the legitimate ranks on your ballot, You Are Not Counted. However many ballots are cast, less than that will make up the count in further rounds.

      • AK Pilot says:

        Plurality voting, used in 46 States (as well as Alaska before 2022) does not require that a winner receive a majority of the votes cast, only the *most* votes. As a perfect example Lisa Murkowski won reelection in 2010 with less than 40% of the votes. The problem you describe is one of voter education (or more accurately the lack thereof) and is no different, in practice, from a voter choosing to sit out a runoff election in those jurisdictions that require them.

  • Alaskan to the Bone says:

    Several things need to happen in order to restore the integrity of our elections:
    1) Repeal Rank Choice Voting
    2) Eliminate election “season” and restore election night. There is ZERO reason the counting of ballots should take several weeks.
    3) Stop all mail-in balloting with exception of Absentee balloting, upon request by the voter.
    4) Allow for 100% open transparency in poll watchers during handling/counting of the ballots.
    Alaska will continue in the election shenanigans, until we the people get serious and restore the vote.

  • Julie says:

    Ranked choice is not a fair system for the citizens of Alaska to elect candidates by a majority vote. It allows candidates to get elected that would not have won otherwise. Most people were confused by the process which led to many errors unnecessarily. It does not give a honest straight forward voting process and invokes to many unanswered questions. This increases the feel of our votes not counting.

  • Dean says:

    AK Pilot,
    Because of RCV in the house race we have two Republicans running, one Democrat and one person who dropped out. Sarah Palin beat Nick Begich after the 1st round where in a normal election that should have ended up with Mary Peltola and Sarah Palin going against each other in the General. When you add up the total votes for Republican versus Democrat votes, Republicans Win but with the RCV the Democrat Wins. With the current vote totals as of today Peltola is in the lead but the total of Palin and Begich is higher than Peltola’s votes. This is why RCV sucks. Begich should have dropped out since he ended up in third place. But maybe this was a strategic Democratic ploy to game the RCV system and get Begich to run as a Republican to keep Palin from winning. Just Saying!

    • AK Pilot says:

      You are assuming that every person who voted for Begich would have voted for Palin; this is demostrably not true based on the special election results. The fact is that over 15,000 Begich voters chose Peltola as their second choice, and 11,000 didn’t vote for anyone second. Palin is so strongly disliked by enough people that she likely would have lost in a straight head-to-head contest.

  • Diana says:

    Put a petition together to have a vote of the people in the ranked choice vs. one vote system. Get it in and approved to be put on a ballot. We’ll be having another round of voting here in the future. Let’s do it!! Remember that Murkowski did this to ensure she would win. It was her staff person Kendall that took it to court and the Republican attorney lost the case because he didn’t know much about it. Susan Collins from Maine has been <Murkowski's friend for years. Wake up Alaska!! Thje Republican party paid her a few million dollars in the Spring to run against Kelly Tshibaka. Wake up Alaska!

  • Concerned Alaskan says:

    Joel, thank you for placing light on this important issue. It’s good to see that your article has generated much interest and thoughtful discussion. Personally, I urge that this corrupt voting system be repealed very soon. It was clearly designed to “deceitfully” muck up Alaska’s ballot system, — so as to favor future left-leaning control agendas.

  • John says:

    The problem with RCV is people don’t know how to use it. It is far better at enabling the voter to vote for the persons he/she wants in office in contrast to voting for the party they prefer. It does tend to favor moderates rather than the extremes at both ends of the spectrum. Still if republicans for example, are the majority, and all of them vote for only republicans for all their choices a republican will be elected. Currently that does not seem to be the way republicans vote. Probably because they don’t have candidates that have broad support. Learn from this. You may not like what the true majority likes, but that is what our system is supposed to support. The two party system is not part of our constitution. We are becoming a dictatorship through our two party system and their internal politics. RCV is a better measurement of what the people really want. Isn’t that what voting is about? Second and third choices should be figured in. Not the party highway or no way. And if you really don’t want any votes going to anyone other than your first choice, leave the other choices blank. And if my second choice wins it much better than the one, I definitely don’t want.

    • AK Pilot says:

      Thank you John for thoughtfully examining this issue; the majority of people on here seem to have many misconceptions about RCV and dislike it because, this time, it might have produced a result or two they didn’t like. The fact is there is no telling how the Senate election may have turned out under the old system; yes it is likely that Murkowski would have been defeated in the primary (as if that stopped her in 2010), but there are a lot of centrist voters in Alaska who may just have voted for the Dem if Murkowski wasn’t on the ballot. If we want conservatives to win elections minds need to be changed, not the system.

  • Alexander Dolitsky says:

    Too bad about the U.S. elections. Actually, though, I am very surprised that the Republicans managed to get control of the House; I was expecting them to lose everything. The Democrats have been working for years on making “vote by mail” a major way of voting because it is so easy for them to corrupt (they perfected those and other techniques long ago in the big Dem cities), and I figured that ALL the important races (at least all of those that include the big Dem cities) would be fixed to provide just enough margin to ensure the Dem victories. So, I actually must admit that I am surprised the Republicans at least marginally prevailed in the House. But with such a slim margin, they will be hugely hampered by RINOs. And, speaking of RINOs, we will have Lisa Murkowski for another 6 years for Alaska as well as a Democrat replacing Don Young in the House all because of Murkowski’s ploy to change the Alaska election process to “ranked voting” a couple of years ago with huge amounts of “outside” funding selling it to the naive Alaska electorate.

  • JD says:

    akk pilot
    You keep touting Australia’s RCV as if it’s a great example of what Alaska and America could have if we just implemented RCV everywhere. Question: do you support personal freedoms granted in the U.S. constitution and bill of rights? Check RECENT history in Australia and the extremely limited rights their citizens currently “enjoy”. Exhibit A (one of many) Covid “camps” where Australian RCV citizens were INTERRED. Your refusal to acknowledge valid points opposing your own opinion and point of view make you sound suspiciously like a black money, internet “monitor” troll. Truth does not require your belief to be true, it’s simply true. Believe and opine as you wish, truth and facts will not change to suit you mam/sir.

    • AK Pilot says:

      You can hardly equate the comparison of the systems of electing leaders in two different countries with a comparison of the constitutional protections guaranteed to the citizens of those two countries. The fact is that Australian citizens have essentially no constitutional protections from the overreach of their government and it is for that reason, not the manner in which they elect their leaders, that they find themselves in the unfortunate condition they presently face. If you think the election method is to blame, how then do you explain the case of Canada (or, for that matter, Burma) which uses the same plurality voting system for which you apparently advocate but is somehow managing to trample over the rights of its citizens nearly to the extent of Australia? How do you explain that even our own Constitution requires that the President be elected by a *majority* of the electoral votes cast, not simply the most votes?
      I have brought up the history of Australia’s elections to disprove the notion that ballots in RCV elections cannot be counted by hand and are “impossible” to audit, not because I agree with the public policy of the Australian government which I most certainly do not in many areas. The citizens of Australia are not guaranteed by their constitution the right to keep and bear arms, the right to assemble peaceably, the freedom of speech or many other rights we take for granted and no electoral system can overcome that when, inevitably, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Throughout modern history most dictators have been elected.
      I will not apologize for not serving as a part of the echo chamber that apparently most commenters on this site want. You claim that I “refuse to acknowledge valid points” but my posts have been entirely dedicated to addressing those points as have been presented. If you feel there is something I have failed to address I gladly will if you bring it to my attention, but don’t get mad and call me names when you hear the answer. Name-calling does nothing to advance your argument.

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