Alaska adopts ranked choice vote electoral system by tu voz importa
Soon, electoral ballots in Alaska will look slightly different from what we are used to. This is because the state is changing the electoral system to a system of ranked choice voting. The biggest difference between this new system and the current one is that, now, instead of only being able to choose one candidate, voters will be able to choose multiple candidates and rank them in the order of their preference.
This change was decided in 2020 when Ballot Measure #2 was approved by 50.5% of voters in Alaska and, even if it’s slightly different, the new electoral system brings benefits to the health of democracy in the state. For instance, it will now be mandatory for a candidate to really obtain the support of a majority of the electorate to win an election. In the current system, it is possible for several candidates to compete for the same office and, because they divide the electorate, this can lead to a candidate winning the election with the support of just 30% or 40% of voters. Furthermore, it allows for the voter’s voice to be considered even if their preferred candidate loses.
To understand this better, it’s important to explore how this new system works. In the first round, only the voter’s “first choice” is considered. If any candidate wins over 50% of the votes, then that candidate wins the election. If this doesn’t happen, then there’s a second round of counting. There, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated, but this doesn’t mean that voters who ranked them as their first choice lose their vote. The candidate that they marked as their second option receives their vote. The process repeats: eliminating the candidate in the last place until there are two candidates left and, as it is the case in every election, the candidate with a majority of the votes wins.
Ranked choice voting will be used in all state and federal elections, so you will be able to rank your preferences between the candidates for governor, state legislator, president, senator and representative. Despite this, the new system does not mean that every voter will be able to vote multiple times; the vital principle of one voter, one vote is still respected, but in this case the list of the ranked candidates is considered as the vote. The first opportunity to use this system occurred on the August 16th election and then, again, in the November midterms, but in the meantime, if you want to learn more about this topic follow us on Facebook (Tu Voz Importa Alaska) and Instagram (@tuvozimporta907) for content in Spanish about the new electoral system.
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