Ask Bernadette: Ranked choice voting Q&A series


This voter education series will answer your questions about ranked choice voting. The subject expert is Bernadette Wilson, state director for Americans for Prosperity Alaska, who will answer questions about how to understand the new voting system that is in effect due to Ballot Measure 2. This series will continue until Aug. 16, the final date for the regular primary election and the special general election for the temporary placeholder for Alaska’s congressional seat.

Reader Question: The special general election on Aug. 16 has three names for the congressional seat that we are supposed to rank. What if I only want to rank one candidate and not all three? Will my ballot be spoiled?

Bernadette Wilson’s Answer: First of all, you can vote for one person, and if you choose to only vote for one candidate, your ballot is not automatically spoiled or discounted.

If you decide to rank only one person, your one vote will stay in the counting process as long as your candidate stays in the ballot counting process. For example, if you vote for one, and your chosen candidate gets the least amount of votes in the first round, they get eliminated and your ballot gets eliminated. But if your candidate gets the most amount of votes, then your ballot continues to stay in the running, and continues to count toward that candidate because they are still in the running.

When people go to vote, they will notice their ballot — on the ranked choice voting side only — will state they can vote for as many or as few candidates as they would like.

This series will continue. Put your questions in the comments section below.

Watch Bernadette Wilson explain how ranked choice voting works at this link:


  1. It’s very simple. Vote for the true conservatives and leave everyone off of your ballot. Ideally you should vote for one candidate only, to prevent vote dilution.

    • Wrong! Vote first for who you want. Then vote against those you don’t want. Don’t bail out on the whole idiotic system after the first round. Kinda like a boxing match. It ain’t over until it’s over.

    • You should vote for at least two otherwise if your preferred candidate gets dropped you have no other options. I prefer Nick but would tolerate Sarah over Peltola. Therefore Nick is my #1 and Sarah is my #2. If you only prefer one and think the other two don’t matter than vote for one but you should vote the party down the line.

      Otherwise I think only voting Nick or only Sarah simply helps Peltola as that reduces the count of valid ballets as one gets eliminated.

      I love Bernadette but she should have explained the ramifications of voting only one.

      • I agree. Though I will make an exception to this rule/guideline for the Senate race. I will not rank Murkowski on my ballot.

          • Unfortunately a lot of Democrats will be ranking Murkowski even though Republicans won’t. That’s what Scott Kendall and her campaign bet on and the only way she’d get in.

      • Jerry is right.

        Question for Bernadette: under what precise scenario would my 4th rank choice be utilized? It seems it would require five candidates to make the 4th rank choice relevant.

    • Good idea! I was trying to think of someone better than Mickey Mouse to write in after Kelly in the Nov General, because I’m not ranking Lisa at all.

      Question: If we can’t get rid of rank choice before the 2024 Presidential Primaries, how will Alaskans be able to weigh in with our preferences in the national party primaries? Will we still have closed party preference polls or a caucus like in the past, without ranked choice?

  2. I tend to agree with Just Sayin’. What say you, Bernadette / Suzanne? I appreciate this article being posted AND the helpful comments. Thanks for all. I plan on coming back often to this one and making sure family and friends know exactly what to do.

  3. Why thank you Bernadette!
    We need Sunlight, and as much as we can get.

    This system robs the ends, and pays the middle.
    It makes Losers Winners and Winners Losers.
    It is far more complicit than it appears.

    And that is why I compare it to Roulette.
    Did you catch me on KENI last night where Mike Porcaro flatly rejected to even discuss the issue?
    I love the guy, but when he has his mind made, it is closed for business.

    War-gaming this is complicated in itself.
    This would make a good board game.
    Thanks again,

  4. It’s my understanding that Ranked Choice has been found unconstitutional in every State yet no one here is suing to have it removed. I cant support this.

    • Maine has ranked choice voting, Alaska is the second State. Each State has their own laws on voting, typically ranked choice approval needs a voter referendum. Alaska ranked choice voting and it is now law and Constitutional

    • Maine had a “people’s veto” that determined that RCV would only used for federal office elections not state office elections. The grounds was that it was seen as unconstitutional without it being ruled as such by their court system.

  5. We will never have another fair election. It’s all rigged. Welcome to a true People’s Democratic Republic.

  6. No offense to Bernadette but, let’s get Bruce Campbell back for a detail strategy plan and explanation, utilizing Calculus (integrals and derivatives)!

  7. The Alaska Republican Party says: “Rank the Red”
    The Alaska Democratic Party says: “Vote Blue No Matter Who”

    This should establish, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Parties care about only one thing: The Party

    “Reject the Rank!”

    Vote for your favorite candidate. One Person; One Vote…..its worked well for over a couple centuries

    • Then you will not have a say if your ballot gets eliminated after the first round. This would be similar to the old way of one vote. An example below:

      Your preferred candidate is Nick
      Primary: You voted for Nick, but Sarah wins the Primary.
      General: It is against Sarah and Mary. You don’t vote because you don’t like either one.

      You may not want to “Rank the Red” or “Vote Blue No Matter Who”, then rank your candidates you would like in the order of your preferences.

      Voting once is stupid!

      • Not at all, particularly for senator. The purpose of this new system was to keep Murkowski in office because she’d never make it otherwise. One person, one vote for senator, Tshibaka. However, I’ll be ranking Begich and Palin for House. Leave RINO Murkowski OFF your ballot.

    • Check your math, Alaska has been a State for 0.63 centuries. The original Constitution leaves most voting laws up to the individual States and only allowed free men to vote.

    • Duane, JJ is right. It is clearly your privilege to rank only one candidate but to do so is not the best strategy; it relies on your chosen candidate to never be the one who receives the fewest votes. Here’s more detail. Say there are five votes total cast in a race with three candidates. “A” gets three votes, “B” gets two, and “C” gets one vote. You voted for C and only C. No one wins in the first round, and “C” gets thrown out because “C” received the fewest votes. This means your second choice becomes your new first choice. But you didn’t vote for a second choice. So your ballot is eliminated. This means there are now five ballots in the race. “A” received 3 votes and “B” received 2. Thus “A” wins, having received at least 50% plus one.
      In this simple scenario, your second choice may have made a difference if you voted for “B” as your second. (It would have been a tie, settled by a flip of a coin.)
      Therefore, if there are four candidates, and you truly don’t care which of those other three win if your candidate loses, then vote for only one. That is an unlikely scenario. You probably can detect a difference between the others.

      • CEF, I believe you have pointed out a very important fact–the number of votes to win is reduced if someone bullet votes and that candidate is dropped out. Thanks for that fact!

      • If you vote the same each time then the candidate could be ranked more than once they could be ranked 1st 2nd 3rd or any combination.

  8. My question:

    Can I rank a write-in to advantage my #1?

    As an example, I intend to rank the special US House as 1) Nick, 2) Quitter, 3) Write-in (I like the idea of using Byron Mallott), 4) Peltola

  9. What is going on over at elections?
    I have worked at a Jewel Lake area (conservative) precinct for 8 elections, 7 of them as precinct chair.
    Oddley I have not been contacted by elections; they’re usually very aggressive at recruiting us to come back.

    Went to Gambell St. & they said we haven’t called you because your precinct is gone, redistricted.
    I said “And now you don’t want me to work ?” They replied “oh no, we want you, but we called all the workers for the intact precincts 1st; we’ll call you”

    Nothing. No call or contact; the election is a month away
    I have a lot of training & experience, paid for by the State. This makes no sense.

    Pat, the long time recruiter at Gambell St. has retired, so maybe it’s incompetence on the part of the new recruiter; but it sure makes one wonder, what with the socialists taking over everything and “changing” the way we vote.
    Are they so lame, they lost the phone numbers of people that have worked elections for years?

    • I also in Kenai applied and was told my district didn’t need me. I told them I was open to working in another area. Crickets. Yet, they’re still advertising on the radio that they need people. I’d do it for free, and they’re talking about paying people.

  10. Ranked Choice is rife for cheating as it will take too long to determine the winner. The more time that ballots are in the hands of Deep State election officials, the more time they have to manipulate the outcome!

  11. If you only vote for one candidate and don’t rank anyone else, and your candidate ends up third or fourth place (and there’s no majority winner), then your ballot essentially becomes canceled, and you will no longer have a say in who wins. With the old system we had the option to hold our noses and vote for the least objectionable final candidate in the runoff election.
    And, equally important, it wouldn’t take too many canceled ballots to result in the eventual winner ending up with less than 50% of the total original votes cast.
    Much as I dislike our former wannabe VP, I’ll still rank her rather than let Nancy Pelosi continue her reign of terror in DC.

  12. Rank voting is obviously a horrible way to vote and is designed to sew confusion, unfortunately it is now how our system works.

    If you only rank one candidate you run the risk of your vote being thrown out and unknowingly becoming a disenfranchised voter. If you want to bullet vote and take the chance and allow someone you don’t want to represent you to be elected then that’s your choice.

    You can only rank one candidate one time, if you rank them as more than one choice your ballot will be spoiled and none of your ranked votes will count at all.

    You can only rank a candidate once. You can rank one candidate, you can rank two candidates, you can rank three candidates, you can rank four candidates, you can even rank an eligible write-in candidate…but if you rank one of them more than once your ballot is spoiled and will not be counted in the vote total.

  13. This is a system designed by cheaters for the purpose of cheating. Between rank, mass mailing of ballots and electronic voting machines, there will never be another honest election in this state.

  14. Legal, not according to the U, S. Constitution. Voting shall be determined by the state legislature “according to the constitution”. When reading through the U. S. Constitution I can find no provisions for ballot initiative. There is very little doubt that this initiative is illegal. But defeat would probably require a determination by the Supreme Court.

  15. As a voter, have we gone from one person=1 vote, to 1 person= 3 votes? Then as a voter, do i not have the option to vote for my selected candidate 3 times? Column A, B, and C………. Instead of assuming I “have” to vote for a different candidate in each column…..?

      • You can’t vote for one person four times…hmm are you trying to confuse people? Tricky, but your ballot could be voided.

      • If you do that not one of those votes will count. You can only write in an approved write in candidate, if you want that vote to count.

        Too many leftists trolls spreading misinformation.

  16. How great is the chance if you only voted for your first and second choice that someone handling the ballot would mark the unused 3rd and 4th choices? We saw them cheating before, couldn’t they do it again?


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