Alaska’s new voting system is continuing to show its weaknesses as incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski maintains a less than 2,-000-vote lead over Kelly Tshibaka even as the new “ranked-choice voting” results have to be applied.
Despite that Election Day was Nov. 8, Alaska was still accepting absentee ballots until Friday. But that doesn’t even take into account the tabulation of the new ranked-choice cotes, the counting of which won’t even start until Wednesday.
“Under Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system, voters must list the four candidates who advanced from a jungle primary in order of who they prefer to win,” Fox News reported.
“If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes on Election Day, the counting proceeds to a second round where the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. People who voted for that candidate have their votes redistributed to their second choice. The counting continues until there are two candidates remaining and whoever has the greatest number of votes wins.”
Murkowski’s camp believes that the ranked-choice results will increase her lead and that she will retain her seat in Washington.
According to projections, Republicans Buzz Kelley and Patricia Chesbro will quickly be eliminated when the ranked-choice votes begin to be calculated. That will leave 34,358 votes to be redistributed to these voters’ second choice.
Murkowski’s campaign feels that the votes for the moderate Chesbro will revert to her when the Chesboro is eliminated and Murkowski shows as these voters’ second choice.
Indeed, Murkowski is so confident, she posted a meme making fun of Tshibaka’s claim that she only lost because of the ranked-choice voting with the line “And like that… Kelly’s claim she only lost because of Ranked Choice was gone.”
— Lisa Murkowski (@LisaForSenate) November 19, 2022
Murkowski, who was appointed to her seat by her Alaska Gov. father in 2020 and then elected in her own right since, but starting in 2010 conservatives became tired of her constant siding with Democrats and began mounting challenges against her.
That vote brought the president to campaign against Murkowski in the lead-up to the 2022 election.
“By inciting the insurrection and violent events that culminated on January 6, President Trump’s actions and words were not protected free speech,” Murkowski said in a statement to explain her vote to take down a president.
Murkowski’s actions brought the entire Alaska GOP to censure her even as she ran for re-election.
Murkowski voted to acquit Trump and shield him from impeachment in the Democrats’ first attempt to impeach him, but did not repeat that vote the second time.
The ranked-choice voting has sent Alaska’s election into protracted sessions and holding up the final selection of the people’s representative in Washington. Unfortunately, this idea seems to be leaking out of Alaska and into other states.
This year, voters in Nevada have approved the system in a measure that appeared on their ballots. The measure passed by 52.8 percent and approved open primaries and top-five ranked-choice voting, the Associated Press reported last week.
While the ranked-choice voting will not apply to the contest for the president, supporters of the idea claim that the open primaries and the ranked-choice option will bring in even more voters to the polls, those who eschewed voting because of the closed primaries.
The state of Maine also has ranked-choice voting and the system gave that state’s GOP Senator, Susan Collins, the fight of her life in 2020. Despite successful elections in the past, she was only just able to achieve a victory that year. Collins comes up for her next election campaign in 2026.
These new systems of voting are undermining our traditional election system. But they do seem to be increasingly entrenched. We can only hope that the voters in these states see the error of their way and change things back to the way they were. But we must also hope that these ideas don’t continue to propagate across the country to cast our elections further into chaos.
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