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Alaskans have voted on Ballot Measure 2, an initiative that drastically changes the state’s election system. Under the measure, Alaska would hold nonpartisan top-four primaries as opposed to separate primaries for each party, and would enact ranked-choice runoff voting, where voters rank their choices in order of preferences instead of voting for just one candidate.
Results of the proposition are now trickling in as Alaska election officials continue to count and report the results of mail-in ballots. On November 12, votes for “yes” on the measure took a very narrow lead over “no” votes.
If the measure passes, Alaska would be the first state in the nation to hold top-four primaries. Two states, California and Washington, currently use top-two primaries. One state, Maine, currently uses ranked-choice voting and Massachusetts also voted on a ballot initiative to established ranked-choice voting.
Alaska’s measure would go into effect starting for elections beginning in 2022.
Here’s the text of Ballot Measure 2 as it appeared on the ballot:
“This act would get rid of the party primary system, and political parties would no longer select their candidates to appear on the general election ballot. Instead, this act would create an open nonpartisan primary where all candidates would appear on one ballot. Candidates could choose to have a political party preference listed next to their name or be listed as ‘undeclared’ or ‘nonpartisan'” The four candidates with the most votes in the primary election would have their names placed on the general election ballot.
This act would establish ranked-choice voting for the general election. Voters would have the option to ‘rank’ candidates in order of choice. Voters would rank their first choice candidate as ‘1’, second choice candidate as ‘2’, and so on. Voters’ ‘1’ choice would be counted first. If no candidate received a majority after counting the first-ranked votes, then the candidate with the least amount of ‘1’ votes would be removed from counting. Those ballots that ranked the removed candidate as ‘1’ would then be counted for the voters’ ‘2’ ranked candidate. This process would repeat until one candidate received a majority of the remaining votes. If voters still want to choose only one candidate, they can.
This act would also require additional disclosures for contributions to independent expenditure groups and relating to the sources of contributions. It would also require a disclaimer on paid election communications by independent expenditure groups funded by a majority of out of state money.
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Summary List Placement