Alaska Undertakes Process to Replace Congressman Young - P.O.W. Report

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Alaska Undertakes Process to Replace Congressman Young

Written by Alaska House Republican Caucus:


(JUNEAU) – The confusion and complication of the special election resulting from the unfortunate passing of Congressman Young highlights how misguided and shortsighted the 2020 ballot measure two was.  Many Alaskans voted for it under the guise of ridding “dark, outside money” from Alaska politics, not realizing that the campaign was funded by “dark, outside money”. 


Now, Alaska is facing the prospect of being without congressional representation for nearly six months.  Because of U.S. constitutional provisions, federal law, existing state statute and provisions of ballot measure two, we will have to conduct a special primary election as an “all mail” election and a special general election that won’t likely be certified until sometime in September.  To add further confusion, the special general election will be held concurrently with the regular primary election.


The House Republican Caucus supports the ability of Alaskans to have a direct hand in crafting Alaska’s laws through the initiative and referendum processes.  However, the 2020 ballot measure two reminds us, once again, of the shortcomings of ballot measures.  Unlike legislation passed by the legislature following a lengthy and thorough review by policy committees and debated extensively by both bodies of the legislature, ballot measures go through no such vetting.


The House Republican Caucus will work diligently to provide accurate and timely information to Alaskans about both the mechanics and timeline of the special congressional elections and the ranked-choice scheme under which the 2022 regular election will be conducted.


Alaska became the first state to adopt top-four primaries for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices. Under Ballot Measure 2, candidates run in a single primary election, regardless of a candidate's party affiliation. The four candidates that receive the most votes advance to the general election. As of 2020, California and Washington used a top-two system for primaries.[5]

At the general election, voters elect state and federal candidates using ranked-choice voting. For state executive, state legislative, and congressional elections, voters rank the four candidates that advanced from their top-four primaries. A candidate needs a simple majority of the vote (50%+1) to be declared the winner of an election. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice. The tabulation process would continue as rounds until there are two candidates remaining, and the candidate with the greatest number of votes would be declared the winner. [Read more about Alaska's new voting system]

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