Alaskans Approve Shift to Ranked-Choice Voting
Alaska will be joining Maine in allowing its voters to rank candidates for office rather than having to settle for just one.
The full numbers are finally in for Alaska Ballot Measure 2, which will implement ranked-choice voting in the state. It has passed (barely) with 50.6 percent of the voters’ approval.
Ranked-choice voting allows citizens to rank candidates for office in order of their support. In order to win, the top candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote. If he or she does not, the candidate who received the fewest votes is eliminated and the vote is recounted. For every voter who selected the eliminated candidate, now their second-choice is counted as their vote. This continues until one candidate passes the 50 percent threshold, and that candidate is deemed the winner.
Ranked-choice voting allows greater room for third-party and independent candidates to draw votes without citizens feeling like they have to “throw their vote away.” It doesn’t necessarily change election outcomes—even with three opponents, Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins got 51.1 percent of the vote on Election Day to keep her seat, and so the state’s ranked-choice mechanisms didn’t apply. But it can change—and on occasion, has changed—results if voters are too lukewarm on a frontrunner.
In Alaska, Measure 2 will implement ranked-choice voting for state and congressional offices, and it also changes how the primaries work. They’ll be shifting to an open primary where voters can choose among candidates regardless of political affiliation. The top four will then advance to the November election, where ranked-choice selection wil
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