Voices & Choices

RCV in Alaska celebrated in NY Times, Washington Post

RCV in Alaska celebrated in NY Times, Washington Post

This week, the New York Times and Washington Post published op-eds celebrating Alaska’s new ranked choice voting election system, which will be used for the first time this year. 

New York Times

In “More Places Should Do What Alaska Did to Its Elections (2/15), legal scholar Richard Pildes writes that RCV is one of the “most promising solutions" to ensure that the "candidate with the broadest appeal to voters... wins the election." Describing RCV’s growing success across the country and political spectrum, Pildes writes: 

“The political makeup of these areas ranges from blue to purple to red. Signatures in Nevada are now being gathered to qualify a ballot measure for this fall that would create an election system similar to Alaska’s. (That proposal would establish a top-five primary.) In 2021, New York City used ranked-choice voting for its primaries, including the all-important Democratic primary for mayor. Voters in Maine adopted ranked-choice voting, where it has been in effect since 2018 and used for federal elections as well as state primaries. In Utah, 23 cities, including Salt Lake City, are authorized to use ranked-choice voting. To avoid a more factional candidate winning a traditional primary, the Republican Party in Virginia opted to use a nominating convention, with ranked-choice voting, which led to its nomination of Glenn Youngkin for governor.”

Washington Post

In Underestimating Lisa Murkowski is a Half-Baked Idea in Alaska” (2/16), columnist George F. Will approvingly writes that Alaska’s combination of an open Top 4 primary and RCV is: 

“... a Madisonian reform, designed to encourage rule by majorities whose political temperatures do not skew far toward fevers.” 

Meanwhile, in Can Alaska Save Democracy?(2/10), law professor Edward Foley writes that the combined open primary and RCV represent “the electoral reform that’s most likely to save democracy.”

These op-eds, combined with the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision affirming the new voting system, reflect the growing embrace of RCV from the grassroots to the opinion pages of the nation’s largest newspapers. From Alaska to Maine, RCV is truly the fastest-growing nonpartisan voting reform in the nation.

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