Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system is truly unfair and if the results had been the opposite, any honest person would have come to the same conclusion.
As NBC News noted, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) went as far as calling the voting system a “scam,” and he’s not wrong, as even though Republicans on the ballot received 60% of the vote, a Democrat still won the at-large House seat in last week’s special election.
Cotton tweeted, “60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican, but thanks to a convoluted process and ballot exhaustion — which disenfranchises voters — a Democrat ‘won.'”
The results, on the surface, even took the country by surprise, as Democrat Mary Peltola managed to flip a strong red seat to blue. But digging deeper, the new voting process needs to be scrapped, immediately.
Convoluted, confusing system
The new system is bizarre, as HotAir explains:
First off, Alaska has chosen to use all-in primaries instead of party primaries. Other states have adopted these as well, notably California, but they use those to narrow down the general election to a run-off between the top two vote-getters. Alaska puts the top four finishers on its general-election ballot, but requires a majority to win.
Rather than use a subsequent runoff between the top two of the general election, Alaska requires voters to fill out second and third choices between the four candidates … and then goes through a ridiculous process to assign those ranked choices if one candidate doesn’t get 50% — which this system all but guarantees will happen. After several days of machinations, Alaska finally announces who won.
And that’s how the party that received, overall, 60% of the vote, lost the election.
“The only people who benefit from Ranked Choice Voting are career politicians and the special interests that are in bed with them. The people of Alaska, on the other hand, are frustrated, confused, and discouraged. People are worried that their vote won’t count – or worse, that they’ll accidentally end up voting in a way that benefits a candidate they oppose. As I keep saying: we are being disenfranchised!” Palin said.
She added: “Alaska is the test-case this election season, the first in the nation with these new elements of a perfectly bad storm” and warned “concerned citizens across America to pay attention and not allow this to slither its way into our other 49 states.”
Round 2 coming
Peltola’s win was only for a special election to fill the late Dan Young’s vacant seat.
The system will be deployed once again in the upcoming general election in November.
Most pundits expect Peltola to hold on to the seat without much issue, though even with Palin’s unpopularity in some GOP circles, the ranked-choice system is such a disaster that it could energize more voters to pick her as a second choice instead of leaving her off the ballot. Only time will tell.