While leftists and Democrats across the nation are continuing to push for widespread use of ranked choice voting (RCV), the election scheme is starting to receive organized pushback.

Currently approved for statewide use in both Alaska and Maine, several other states also allow limited use of RCV for local elections. That trend, however, could face serious challenges in the coming months.

In an effort to keep the controversial voting scheme from finding a foothold in South Dakota, the State Senate passed a preemptive bill last week to ban the practice, statewide. The legislation is now headed to the South Dakota House where Rep. Kirk Chaffee said the goal is to ensure the “confusing” system is never established in the Mount Rushmore State.

In Alaska, voters narrowly approved ranked choice voting in 2020, but it quickly became apparent that most voters had no idea how RCV actually worked. In fact, the State of Alaska had to launch a massive voter education campaign, two years after RCV passed, just so voters would know how to validly cast a ballot.

It turns out that many Alaskans chose to simply sit the election out, which resulted in a record low turnout in ranked choice voting’s inaugural rollout. In fact, Alaska’s voter turnout was just 44.3% the lowest turnout percentage for a general election since Alaska began tracking the data in 1976.

Several bills have been introduced in the Alaska Legislature to overturn RCV, but these measures face an uphill battle in the State Senate, where a Democratic-controlled, bi-partisan caucus has taken over leadership of the upper chamber.

Unwilling to wait on lawmakers, a growing network of Alaskans are now operating on various fronts to rescind RCV and return to the traditional election system, which includes a restoration of party primaries and a ban on candidate ranking.

U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka recently launched Preserve Democracy, with an intent to educate Americans about the dangers associated with RCV. She will hold an event on Feb. 7, 6 p.m., at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai to raise awareness and support for repealing the system in Alaska.

Additionally, Alaskans for Honest Elections is the leading advocate for ditching ranked-choice voting. The group is now actively working to repeal RCV through a statewide ballot initiative in 2024. They must first gather a minimum of 26,000 signatures from registered voters to put the question on the ballot. The initial signature gathering effort starts on Feb. 16, 7-9 p.m., at Pacific Northern Academy’s main auditorium (2511 Sentry Drive).

For more information, email or call 907-802-8116. Those who want to help collect signatures can do so by signing up at this link.

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SD Senate moves to ban ranked-choice voting, while citizen-led effort gains steam in Alaska

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.