RCV repeal measure certified for November ballot in Alaska

Welcome to the March 13, 2024 Brew. 

By: Ethan Sorell

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Alaska set to vote on ballot measure to repeal top-four ranked-choice voting in November
  2. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoes bill that would have required Virginia to rejoin ERIC  
  3. Anaheim City Council recall election scheduled for June 4

Alaska Set to Vote on Ballot Measure to Repeal Top-Four Ranked-Choice Voting in November

In January, we looked at a campaign to repeal ranked-choice voting (RCV) in Alaska. At the time, the campaign had collected 41,895 signatures, 15,000 more than the required 26,705 signature threshold to qualify for the ballot. The measure would eliminate open top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting in Alaska general elections and would establish a party primary system. The general election winner would be decided by the candidate who receives a plurality of votes.

On March 8, Lt. Governor Nancy Dahlstrom (R) formally certified the initiative for the Nov. 5 ballot in Alaska as an indirect initiated statute.


The state’s current system of primary and general election voting was established in 2020, when voters approved Ballot Measure 2 50.55% to 49.45%.

As a result, Alaska now uses RCV for state, congressional, and presidential general elections. Under the current system, the candidate who receives a majority of votes is declared the winner of an election.

Under the proposed ballot measure, Alaska would switch to a party primary process, similar to what is in place in 45 states, to determine general election candidates. A political party would decide whether to hold an open or closed primary. 

In an open primary, a voter does not have to join a party in order to vote in its primary. In a closed primary, a voter must join a party before the election date in order to participate in that party’s primary. Voters would only be able to vote in one party’s primary. The candidate who gets the most votes in a party’s primary would advance to the general election. A candidate who gets a plurality of the vote wins the general election.

This measure would allow candidates who did not run in the primary or were defeated in the primary to run as write-ins for the general election. If a candidate dies, withdraws, resigns, or is disqualified or incapacitated after the primary election and 64 days or more before the general election, the vacancy can be filled by party petition.

Alaskans for Honest Elections is the initiative’s sponsor. Alaskans for Better Elections opposes the measure.

RCV trends in other states 

Currently, two states, Alaska and Maine, use ranked-choice voting for regular statewide elections. Hawaii uses ranked-choice voting for special congressional elections. Fifteen other states use ranked-choice voting in some elections, while five Republican trifecta states—Florida, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Tennessee—have passed laws banning or prohibiting the use of ranked-choice voting. They have all banned it legislatively since 2022.

Two states—Nevada and Oregon—will vote on ballot measures this year that would establish new uses of ranked-choice voting.

The map below shows which states currently use ranked-choice voting statewide or in some localities. It also shows the states where RCV is either prohibited or not addressed in the law. The map does not show states where parties use RCV in partisan primaries, or where military/UOCAVA voters use ranked ballots for runoff elections.

To learn more, check out our extensive coverage of RCV here. Also, be sure to listen to our four-part podcast series at On the Ballot where we take a deep-dive into all things RCV:

  1. What’s the RCV landscape like across the country?
  2. Should RCV continue to expand?
  3. Should RCV be repealed?
  4. RCV’s long history and many different variations

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoes bill that would have required Virginia to rejoin ERIC  

On March 8, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed SB606, a bill that would have required the state to rejoin the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multi-state voter list maintenance compact. The Virginia Senate approved the bill 21-19 on Feb 12. The House of Delegates approved the bill 51-49 on Feb. 21. Both votes were along partisan lines, with all Democrats in each chamber voting for passage and all Republicans in each chamber voting against.

This is the third election administration bill vetoed this year. Forty-six election administration bills were vetoed in 2023, and 17 were vetoed in 2022.

Virginia was a founding member of ERIC in 2012 along with Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, and Washington. Virginia withdrew in 2023. According to the ERIC website, “the seven states that founded ERIC believed using state-of-the-art data matching technology, a robust data sharing program built on widely accepted information security standards, and an unprecedented commitment to cooperation would vastly improve their ability to maintain accurate voter rolls. It would also have the added benefit of allowing them to reach out to unregistered, but likely eligible, individuals more efficiently than anyone else.”

At its height, 33 states and the District of Columbia were members of ERIC. On July 13, 2022, Louisiana became the first state to officially resign its ERIC membership after suspending its participation in January 2022. By October 2023, eight other states had resigned: Alabama, Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, and Texas. At the time of resignation, seven of these states had Republican trifectas, and two, including Virginia, had divided governments.

Election officials in states that withdrew from ERIC said protecting personal data, partisanship, and strategic disagreements contributed to resignations. Critics of the resignations said partisanship and conspiracy theories about ERIC were behind the withdrawals.

Active bills in at least four other states this year would authorize or require application to ERIC:

  1. California’s AB2050;
  2. Hawaii’s SB240;
  3. New Hampshire’s HB1577;
  4. New York’s S6173.

The legislation in New York passed the New York state Senate 61-0 in 2023 and was carried over to this year’s session. The Hawaii bill passed that state’s Senate 11-0 on Feb. 20. New Hampshire’s bill is the only one with bipartisan sponsorship.

As of March 8, lawmakers in 29 states had introduced 149 bills on voter list maintenance.

State election laws are changing. Keeping track of the latest developments in all 50 states can seem like an impossible job.

Here’s the solution: Ballotpedia’s Election Administration Legislation Tracker.

Ballotpedia’s Election Administration Tracker sets the industry standard for ease of use, flexibility, and raw power. But that’s just the beginning of what it can do:

  • Ballotpedia’s election experts provide daily updates on bills and other relevant political developments
  • We translate complex bill text into easy-to-understand summaries written in everyday language
  • And because it’s from Ballotpedia, our Tracker is guaranteed to be neutral, unbiased, and nonpartisan

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Anaheim City Council recall election scheduled for June 4

Ballotpedia covers every recall in the country. We have covered recall efforts on 4924 elected officials since 2009. The upcoming recall in the Anaheim City Council is one of the first recall elections covered in 2024. 

In California, a recall election seeking to remove Natalie Rubalcava from her position as the District 3 representative on the Anaheim City Council is scheduled for June 4. 

The recall effort began in August 2023. Recall supporters began their effort after the release of a public corruption investigation report. The report alleged that Rubalcava received names and contact information from Anaheim First, a resident advisory group created by the Chamber of Commerce, and used that information for campaign purposes. The report also alleged that Rubalcava gave operational directions to a city employee in violation of the city charter. 

In response to the recall effort, Rubalcava said, “Recall elections are supposed to be reserved for special circumstances when an officeholder violates the public trust. This recall is being put forward by an organization that spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to defeat me in 2022. I think the voters of Anaheim’s 3rd city council district are going to see this recall for what it is and reject it.” Rubalcava took office in 2022. 

Recall supporters needed to collect 5,123 signatures by Jan. 19 to put the recall on the ballot. They submitted 9,123 signatures for review on Jan. 17 and a sufficient number were verified to allow the recall to proceed.

According to our most recent recall report, Ballotpedia covered 297 recall efforts against 434 elected officials in 2023. Of the officials included in recall efforts, 17.97% were removed from office. This was the highest percentage of officials removed since 2018.

Thirty-four recall efforts have targeted city council members across the United States. The Anaheim City Council recall election is the second such effort in a major city in 2024. The other is underway in Washington, D.C. 

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