Ranked Choice Voting in Alaska

In the 2020 State of Alaska General Election, voters approved an initiative to establish a Nonpartisan Pick One Primary Election system and a Ranked Choice Voting General Election system. 

What is a Nonpartisan Pick One Primary Election?

There will be only one ballot, with all candidates regardless of political party or political group affiliation. Voters may cast a vote for one candidate in each race, regardless of voter’s political affiliation.

Only four candidates in each race who receive the most votes will advance to the general election. The primary election no longer determines the nominee of a political party or group.

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. 

Nonpartisan Pick One Primary Election: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when there are fewer than four candidates in a race?

All candidates for that race will move on to the general election.

Will my registered political affiliation affect who I can vote for?

No. All candidates will be on the same ballot and all voters may vote for anyone regardless of registration affiliation. (from AK  Division of elections)

Ranked Choice Voting: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still vote for just one candidate?

Yes. If you prefer, you can still vote for just your 1st choice candidate. However, ranking other candidates does not harm your 1st choice.

If I rank other candidates, does it affect my first choice?

No. Only your 1st choice is counted in Round 1. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and other choices will be considered only if your 1st choice candidate does not win.

Do I have to rank all candidates in the general election?

No. You may rank as many or as few candidates as you would like. If you do not want to rank a candidate, leave their column blank. Be sure to NOT assign the same ranking to more than one candidate or assign all rankings to one candidate.

If I rank four candidates in a race, does that mean I got to vote four times?

No. You only get one vote counted per race. Your vote will only count toward your highest-ranked candidate in that race who has not been eliminated. If your top-choice candidate is eliminated, your vote will then count toward your next highest-ranked candidate.

What will cause a race to require subsequent tabulation rounds?

If no candidate receives 50% plus one after all eligible ballots are counted.

What happens if there is a tie during one of the tabulation rounds? Which candidate gets to advance?

A tie between two candidates with the fewest votes in a round, Alaska law says the tie is resolved “by lot” to determine which candidate is eliminated and which candidate advances to the next round. The division’s director will flip a coin or draw straws. The same applies if there is a tie for the last two remaining candidates.

What will the results on general election night look like?

The unofficial results on general election night will report only the results based on voters’ 1st choice ranking in each race. Just like past elections, all results are unofficial until the State Review Board certifies the election and all eligible absentee and questioned votes are counted.

When can I expect results in the Ranked Choice Voting elections?

It is likely that unofficial results in Ranked Choice elections will be known once all eligible absentee and questioned ballots are counted, which according to state law is 15 days after Election Day. The results will not be official until the State Review Board certifies the election.

How will I know when and why my 1st choice candidate was eliminated?

In addition to a summary report available on the division’s website, showing the final votes tallied for the winning candidate, reports will be available to show how many votes each candidate had in every round they advanced to.

What offices are elected using Ranked Choice Voting?

The bill includes President/Vice President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor/Lieutenant Governor, and all state representatives and state senators.

Ranked Choice Voting Educational Toolbox

What You Need to Know to Understand, Administer and Implement Ranked Choice Voting

This toolbox is a series of online lessons that are customizable, educational, and user-friendly.  In order to reach the diverse audiences interested in learning about rank choice voting, this course has been designed in a format that you will be able to tailor specifically to your needs by focusing on the lessons that apply to your interest in learning about ranked choice voting. The educational toolbox consists of a set of five ranked choice voting lessons created to be viewed as a slideshow presentation.

Resource created by the Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center