Alaska’s first general election using ranked-choice voting was marked by widespread voter confusion and the lowest voter turnout percentage on record. Nevertheless, the main organization that initially pushed (and continues to advocate) for ranked-choice voting – Alaskans for Better Elections – claims the 2022 midterm was a smashing success.

On Dec. 9, the group sent out an email celebrating the new voting scheme. The newsletter, however, contains a pie chart, which clearly shows that one in five Alaskan voters found ranked-choice voting difficult to navigate.

The pie chart from Patinkin Research Strategies reveals that 12% of voters found ranked-choice voting “somewhat difficult,” while another 8% said it was “very difficult.” This data was gathered Nov. 9-11, immediately after the Nov. 8 election.

In conjunction with 20% of voters expressing difficulty with the ranked-choice system, voter turnout was just 44.3%. That’s down from 57% in the 2020 general, 46.3% in 2018 and 57% in 2016. In fact, this year was the lowest voter turnout percentage for a general election since Alaska began tracking the data in 1976.

It may be that the low percentage was partially due to a 2016 ballot measure in which Alaskans approved automatic voter registration when people apply for the Permanent Fund Dividend. Since that time, Alaska’s already bloated voter rolls have ballooned by more than 70,000. This has occurred despite the fact that the state has lost about 8,000 residents over the same period.

But even in terms of raw numbers, the 267,000 voters in 2022, represented 18,000 fewer voters from the most recent midterms in 2014 and 2018, when roughly 285,000 Alaskans cast ballots. Overall, the number of actual voters this year, is the lowest for a general election since 2012.

Despite these facts, the Alaskans for Better Elections’ email claimed that “It’s clear that voters like and understand the new system.”

Alaskans for Better Elections is led by many with close ties to the Alaska Democratic Party and/or liberal interests across the state. With the aid of large outside funders such as Unite America, Action Now Initiative and Represent.Us, the group dumped millions of dollars into the 2020 general election, in which Alaskans narrowly approve the ranked-choice ballot initiative, 50.4% to 49.6%.

A new group, however, is now attempting to raise funds and support to repeal ranked-choice voting via ballot initiative. Alaskans for Honest Elections has filed a request with the Division of Elections to begin collecting the needed 40,000 signatures required to put the repeal question before voters in 2024. If this effort succeeds, Alaska would return to party primaries and traditional general elections where voters select only one candidate for each office, rather than ranking them.

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Alaska’s ranked-choice election marred by record-low turnout, mass confusion

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.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Thanks but to bad we/you didn’t write an article on just how to actually vote using this corrupt system. Rigged choice voting worked for Lisa Murkowski. It’s to bad we didn’t get new blood or Kelly to replace her. If Rigged choice voting doesn’t get repealed I’m not sure if Alaska will be worth staying here. I heard this Rigged voting will be in Nevada next cycle. I’ve told everyone I know down their to vote against it. They won’t need it and don’t want it.

    • Richard K CORBeil says:

      Neil, I saw numerous articles on how to vote in RCV. The issue is not there. RCV is designed to aid the coalition candidate. That is the one who appeals to both parties (supposedly). It actually favors the left, as most democrats run on the conservative/moderate ticket to appeal to some republicans and independents and all the democrats. RCV is now going to spread to all the left-leaning states as Alaska has proven how effective it is with 60% republican voting and a democrat winning.
      And I am with you. If RCV is not repealed, this state is in serious trouble.

  • John J Otness says:


  • David Shoemaker says:

    The survey that comes in at 59% simple and 20% somewhat simple perfectly shows the success of RCV the the dems/leftists. There 21% margin of confusion is where elections can EASILY be swayed. Just look at the math from this election cycle.

  • Fallen Republic says:

    Another Stolen Elections. This is Not America. as long as Rank Choice voting, mail in voting, and Dominion Cheating software is around. The RINO Republicans and Democrats will always win.

    • jon says:

      The Republicans in Alaska voted for ranked choice voting, they just didn’t expect that moderates would win. I think Alaska voted in the right candidates for Congress in 2022.

      • Mary says:

        I disagree. I don’t think Alaska s voted in RCV. I believe Dominion voted it in. If you had watched the counters roll around to defeat RCV, stop, then roll rapidly in the opposite direction you would agree. Dominion installed RCV not Alaskans.

  • Whidbey Thedog says:

    So odd that Alaskans are apparently smart enough to complete a complicated PFD application, yet are mystified by the complexities of RCV…

    • Rich Troutman says:

      The PFD form is quite easy to fill out.

    • John Whitmer says:

      It’s difficult to get a person to understand something if understanding it doesn’t fit with what they want to believe. Hey, most of us are at least occasionally guilty of this.

  • Molly says:

    Quit your complaining, sign the petition to put this on the ballot to recall and get all your friends to do the same. Our state legislators could put this on the ballot for us (lmfao) if they WANTED TO. They could also choose to rid us if ERIC, a data feeding system automated to send our PII (personally identifying information) from both elections and DMV monthly and as data changes to who knows where. Our state could be a huge success with so little effort, it is scary what Lisa, Dan and Mary are willing to do to destroy us instead.
    Wishing i was stupid so this crap would not disturb me to my soul.

    Our vote counts if we vote.

  • Eric Miller says:

    The article is misleading. If 20% of the voters thought ranked choice voting was “difficult” then 80% found it to be “simple”. Comparing mid-term elections (non-Presidential), is 44.3% voter turnout really different from 46.3%? Addressing the comment by Richard K CORBeil, it is incorrect to think that 60% of the first round votes were Republican. It is the candidate that has a D or R next to their name, not the voter. The 60% included a large proportion of undeclared voters who split between R and D in the second round. In the end, more Alaskans (R,D,U) voted against the Republican candidate. Am I the only reader seeing through these crummy numbers?

    • Shelley says:

      Eric, the question we should ask: why would we want a voting system that is difficult for 20% of voters when we could have a system that is easy for 100% of voters like the one we had for decades? Our goal should be not to disenfranchise ANY voters. I heard from a number of senior citizens who were intimidated by RCV. Why should we have a system that intimidates some when we could have a system that doesn’t intimidate anyone? The word “republican” in Richard’s comment “60% republican voting” referred to candidates not to voters (in other words, 60% of voters voted for Republican candidates). Case in point: tallying up votes for state senators, more than 65% of Alaskan voters cast their vote for a Republican (first round was at 65%; second round put it at 65+%).

  • T says:

    rigged choice voting needs to go if you ever want your vote to count again. one day, picture ID, paper ballot…!