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Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting Disaster

By a slim margin in 2020, Alaskans voted by ballot initiative to adopt ranked choice voting. Tuesday, Aug. 16, marked the first use of ranked choice voting for Alaska’s special election for the state’s only House of Representatives seat after the death of Rep. Don Young (R-AK). 

In traditional elections, each voter selects one candidate. Under Alaska’s ranked choice voting system, voters rank their preference of candidates out of four. From the early results of Alaska’s House race, no candidate won a clear 50-percent-plus-one majority after the first round of counting. This means that votes for the lowest-scoring candidate, or in this case the write-in votes, will be eliminated, and second choices will be counted in the second round of tabulation. This cycle will continue until a candidate arrives at a majority.

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