Alaskans vote twice for Congress today—in a special election to fill a vacant seat and in an open primary that advances the top four vote-getters to the November 8 ballot.
Three candidates are vying in the special election to fill the seat held by the late Rep. Don Young (R): Sarah Palin (R), Nick Begich III (R), and Mary Peltola (D). They were chosen in the first round of voting. The fourth candidate dropped out.
An open primary is one in which, while candidates’ party affiliation is listed, the top four candidates could be members of the same, or any, party or they could be independents.
To the open primary system, sometimes called a “jungle primary,” Alaska’s elections have an added twist: ranked-choice voting.
Ranked Choice Voting
If one of the three candidates in the special election does not get at least 50 percent plus one vote, Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting will come into play.
The candidate who comes in third will be eliminated, and election administrators will add the second choices of the voters who selected that also-ran to the vote totals of the two front runners. Potentially, had the fourth candidate not dropped out, and no one received a majority, even with the second choices of the fourth, or lowest, vote-getter, the election administrators would eliminate the third-lowest candidate, and count the third choices of voters for that candidate.
The results of the special election might not be known for weeks, as mail-in ballots arrive and are counted. The same holds for the primary.
Last Frontier voters are also selecting four top candidates for the November general election for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor, and the Legislature in today’s open primary.
For more election news: Budget & Tax News.