Alaskans to vote on a ballot initiative to repeal ranked-choice voting in Nov. 2024

In Alaska, a ballot initiative to repeal top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting (RCV) qualified for the general election ballot on March 8. The initiative will appear on the ballot for Nov. 5, 2024, unless the legislature adjourns on or before April 22, in which case the initiative could appear on the ballot for Aug. 20, 2024. The legislature is expected to adjourn around May 15.

The campaign Alaskans for Honest Elections submitted 41,349 signatures for the ballot initiative. The Alaska Division of Elections reported that 37,043 signatures were valid, and the signature distribution requirement was met. At least 26,705 signatures needed to be valid.

While the citizen-initiated measure has qualified for the ballot, the Alaska State Legislature can pass legislation similar to the initiative during the current legislative session, which would render the initiative void.

The ballot initiative would repeal the electoral system that voters adopted in 2020, when 50.55% approved Ballot Measure 2. Measure 2 was a citizen-initiated ballot measure that replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries and established ranked-choice voting (RCV) for general elections, including the presidential election.

This year’s ballot initiative would return Alaska to partisan primaries and general elections in which the candidate who receives the highest number of votes wins the election. Known as plurality voting or first-past-the-post, the candidate need not win an outright majority to be elected. This is the most common voting system used in the United States.

Alongside Alaska, Maine also uses RCV for certain federal and statewide elections. Voters in Maine adopted RCV in 2016.

Two states—Nevada and Oregon—will be voting on ballot measures to adopt RCV in 2024. Initiatives have also been proposed in Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, and Montana.

Alaskans for Honest Elections is leading the campaign to repeal RCV in Alaska. With campaign finance reports through Oct. 7, 2023, the PAC reported $306,577 in contributions. The Ranked Choice Education Association was the largest donor, contributing $92,000.

The campaign opposing the ballot initiative, Alaskans for Better Elections, supported Ballot Measure 2 in 2020. With campaign finance reports through Jan. 7, 2024, Alaskans for Better Elections reported $637,648 in contributions. The largest donors included Alaskans for Better Elections, Inc., which contributed $262,778, and Article IV, which contributed $133,385.

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