Posted by Ashley Houghton on November 17, 2020 at 8:53 PM

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Ashley Houghton, Communications Director
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Alaska Joins Maine As Second State in Union To Pass Ranked Choice Voting

Six Out Of Seven Pro-RCV Ballot Measures Pass in 2020

November 17, 2020 –FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for electoral reforms in the United States, celebrated the sixth out of seven pro-ranked choice voting ballot measures that have passed across the country, breaking records for both the number of pro-ranked choice voting ballot measures introduced and passed in an election cycle. Alaskans now join Maine as the second state that will allow ranked choice voting for statewide and federal elections, including President of the United States.

The ballot measure implements several statutory changes, including: 

  1. "Top four" open primaries for state and congressional offices, where all candidates would appear on the same primary ballot and the top-four vote getters would advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation; 
  2. Ranked choice voting among four candidates in the general election, with write-in candidates permitted; and
  3. Ranked choice voting in the presidential election among all candidates who have qualified for the ballot and any write-in candidates. 
  4. Campaign finance transparency measures for candidate campaigns.

Ranked choice voting allows voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference: one, two, three, and so forth. If a candidate receives more than 50% of first choices, they win like any other election. If not, the winner is decided by an “instant runoff”, where whoever voted for the losing candidate has their next choice counted, until the candidate with more than 50% of the vote wins. 

Alaskans for Better Elections developed the “Top Four” primary system in response to a long history of open primaries and Alaskans voting for and electing independent candidates, including twice for governor. Alaska also has a number of districts that have been dominated by one party. These new structures will allow voters to consistently have an array of choices in primary and general elections, while also upholding majority rule.

“Any time voters must deal with crowded ballots, ranked choice voting improves the voter experience. We are thrilled that ranked choice voting was integrated into this reform, and doubly thrilled that so many ranked choice voting ballot measures passed this season.” shared Rob Richie, CEO and President of FairVote. “It’s a testament to ranked choice voting’s appeal. It’s also a testament to the commitment and passion of the voters who advocate for ranked choice voting on a local level across the country.”

A statement by Alaskans for Better Elections read: 

“We appreciate the incredible support Ballot Measure 2 received from our fellow Alaskans from all corners of the state. The voters sent a clear message that election reform is important for the future of our democracy and our great state,” said Shea Siegert, Campaign Manager of Yes on 2 for Better Elections. “We look forward to continuing to work to ensure these reforms are fully implemented and that voters understand the practical changes to our elections. Winning the election was just the first step. Now the real work begins.” 


FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. 


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