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Alaska Could Reconsider Ranked-choice Voting This Year

Campaign to repeal ranked-choice voting in Alaska submits signatures 

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

  1. Campaign to repeal ranked-choice voting in Alaska submits signatures
  2. Fourteen candidates running in the March 5 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Texas 

Initiative campaign to repeal ranked-choice voting in Alaska submits signatures

In 2020, Alaska residents voted 50.55% to 49.45% to approve a measure adopting open top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting (RCV). This year, the state could give both voting systems another look. 

On Jan. 12, Alaskans for Honest Elections submitted around 42,000 signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections in support of the Alaska Repeal Top-Four Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative. The campaign needs 26,705 valid signatures for the measure to move to the next step in the process—the Alaska State Legislature. At that point, the Legislature can approve the initiative or let it go to the ballot for voters to decide on Nov. 5.

In an open top-four primary, all candidates are listed on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and four top vote-getters advance to a general election. RCV is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who gets a majority of first preference votes wins the election. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. The process repeats until a candidate wins an outright majority.

Last year, on On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, we released a four-part series on RCV, with four guests discussing different aspects of and their perspectives on RCV.

  • Episode one: Introduction to RCV and what to expect in 2024. 
  • Episode two: FairVote Director of Research and Policy Deb Otis makes her case in support of RCV.
  • Episode three: Save Our States Executive Director Trent England makes his case against RCV.
  • Episode four: History of RCV and the different variations on the system.

The Alaska measure would replace open top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting general elections with party primaries and a general election where the winner would be decided by the candidate who receives a plurality of votes.

Alaskans for Honest Elections lead organizer Phil Izon said, “We stand for the Alaskans who felt misled, for those who found the RCV ballot confusing, and for everyone who believes in the sanctity of the straightforward voting process.”

On its website, Alaskans for Better Elections, the campaign opposing the measure, states: “In 2020, Alaskans chose to unrig the system and pass pro-voter reforms that give us more choices in every election. Now, with open primaries, we have the freedom to vote for the best candidate, regardless of party. Despite these successes, extreme politicians and political parties are immediately trying to get rid of election reform.”

Alaska, Maine, and Hawaii use RCV in at least some statewide or federal elections. Jurisdictions in 13 other states either use or are scheduled to begin using RCV in municipal elections. Five states—Florida, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Tennessee—prohibit RCV.

From 1965 through 2023, there were six statewide RCV ballot measures in four states. Voters approved four (66.7%) and rejected two (33.3%). There were 67 local measures on whether to adopt RCV. Voters approved 52 (77.61%) and rejected 15 (22.39%) of these measures. Meanwhile, there were seven local ballot measures to repeal RCV. Voters approved four (57.14%) and rejected three (42.86%) of these measures.

State lawmakers have introduced four RCV-related bills in 2024, according to our election legislation database. Throughout 2023 and 2022, that number was 116 and 44, respectively. 

Two states thus far—Nevada and Oregon—will be voting to implement RCV in 2024.

If you want to learn more about RCV, Ballotpedia recently unveiled a new RCV Info Hub, a resource to address the lack of neutral resources to help voters understand what RCV is, how it’s used, its history, and why people support or oppose its use. 

Click below to read more about the Alaska Repeal Top-Four Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative.

Fourteen candidates running in the March 5 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Texas  

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling primaries—the battleground elections we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. Last week, we previewed the March 5 Republican primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. You can catch our previous coverage of other battleground races here.

Today, we’re heading back to the Lone Star State. 

Fourteen candidates are running in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary on March 5. Three candidates lead in fundraising, polling, and endorsements: Colin Allred (D), Roland Gutierrez (D), and Carl Sherman Sr. (D).

No election-related bills have been approved in 2024. One bill had been enacted by this point in 2023, while seven bills had been enacted by this point in 2022. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is running for re-election.

Each of the three leading candidates has legislative experience. Allred, a former NFL player and civil rights attorney, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2018. Gutierrez, an attorney, was elected to the state Senate in 2020 after 12 years in the state House and three on the San Antonio, Texas, city council. Sherman, a pastor, was elected to the state House in 2018 and earlier served two terms as mayor of DeSoto, Texas.

A Texas Tribune analysis of Allred and Gutierrez found the two differed on adding more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court (with Gutierrez in favor and Allred not in favor), adopting a single-payer healthcare system (which Gutierrez supports and Allred opposes), and introducing congressional term limits (with Gutierrez in favor and Allred opposed). The two have also differed on bipartisanship, with Allred saying he would pursue bipartisan legislation if elected and Gutierrez saying he would be a fighter and that bipartisanship was not a realistic goal. Sherman’s campaign has emphasized his personal faith and values, saying Texas needs “a proven leader of unwavering principles and deep faith to guide us back to our centering moral compass.”

Also running in the primary are Victor Dunn (D), Meri Gomez (D), Mark Gonzalez (D), Ahmad Hassan (D), John Love III (D), Soren Pendragon (D), Heli Rodriguez Prilliman (D), Sherri Taylor (D), and Thierry Tchenko (D).

If no candidate wins more than 50% of the primary vote, the top two finishers will advance to a May 28 primary runoff.

The map shows the number of election-related bills introduced by state and trifecta status this year. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Cruz (R) won re-election 50.9%-48.3% against Beto O’Rourke (D) in 2018 in the most expensive U.S. Senate race that year. The election will help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Democrats are defending a two-seat majority, with 20 Democratic-held seats up for election to 10 Republican-held seats and three seats held by independents, two of whom caucus with Democrats.

Here’s a snapshot of the election policy legislation we followed last week, and how those numbers compare to this time in 2023 and 2022:

  • No election-related bills have been approved in 2024. One bill had been enacted by this point in 2023, while seven bills had been enacted by this point in 2022.
  • Democrats sponsored 20 (40%) of the 50 bills active over the past week, and Republicans sponsored 20 (40%). Seven (14%) bills had bipartisan sponsorship. Three (6%) bills had sponsors other than Democrats or Republicans, such as nonpartisan lawmakers or committee sponsorship.
  • Twenty-five (50%) of these bills are in states with Democratic trifectas, 15 (30%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 10 (20%) are in states with a divided government.


Produced in association with Ballotpedia

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