Ranked-choice voting initiative passes in Alaska

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska voters have passed an initiative that introduces ranked choice voting to all general elections, starting in 2022.

    The measure also institutes open top-four primaries and brings more transparency to the identities of donors funding political campaigns.

    The campaign attracted a mix of support from Alaskans all over the state, including former state senators Albert Kookesh, a Democrat, and Lesil McGuire, a Republican. The nonpartisan League of Women Voters vetted and ultimately supported the measure.

    The editorial board of the Anchorage Daily News did the same. Ballot Measure 2 passed on Tuesday, 50.5 to 49.5 percent. The margin could change slightly as the Division of Elections counts remaining ballots.

    Statewide general elections for governor, state legislature, the White House, and Congress will take place using ranked choice voting. Voters have the option to rank as many or as few candidates as they wish, in order from most- to least-favorite. If a candidate earns a majority of first-place votes, they win. If no candidate has more than 50 percent, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their ballots are reallocated to voters’ second choices.

    The process continues until a candidate crosses the 50 percent threshold. For some voters, ranking candidates can be confusing, but research shows voters adapt.

    Maine is the only other state to use ranked choice voting statewide, although not for the governor’s or state legislative races. Local governments in multiple states, including Utah, Florida, Tennessee, Oregon, California, and Michigan also use ranked choice voting.

    A ranked choice voting initiative on the Massachusetts ballot in 2020 failed, 55 to 45 percent.

    Ballot Measure 2 also requires political campaigns for state-level races to reveal their identities.

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