Ask Bernadette: What are the ramifications of voting for just one person on a ranked choice ballot?


This voter education series answers 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: What are the ramifications of voting for only one candidate in the ranked choice scenario?

Bernadette Wilson’s Answer: The ramifications of voting for only one candidate depends on the strength of that one candidate.

If you vote for one candidate, but that candidate turns out to be the top vote getter in the first round of counting, then there are no ramifications for only voting for one.

If you only vote for one candidate but that candidate is the candidate that gets the least amount of votes in the first round then the ramifications would be that your vote now gets thrown out in the first round and you have no voice in the second or third or potentially fourth round of counting.

That same pattern would continue so if you only voted for one candidate but let’s say they get the second most amount of votes then again there would be no ramifications until it comes to the round in which your candidate is eliminated or wins.

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. This ranked choice voting has to go. Scott Kendall has to go. He has purposefully introduced a deceptive voting method designed to be wrought with inconsistencies that allow the government to more easily cheat the votes than they already do now.

    • I have no doubt that Ranked Choice voting was passed by using the Dominion Machines and or Ballot Harvesting to get it over the line. It was purposely created to preserve the RINO’s seats like Murkowski. Alaska needs to petition for a referendum to repeal Ranked Choice voting. But the first order of business is to petition Dunleavy about why he is allowing Dominion Machines that can be hacked and have the data altered through wireless modems and or inserted flash-drives, to be used in our State. CISA has even admitted they are a danger to honest elections. Dunleavy continues to be silent on this and will not respond to my e-mails or phone calls. If you want to change Alaska’s corrupt political environment, we need Chris Kurka for Governor, Kelly Tshibaka for Senate and Palin for Congress! Come on Alaska, don’t let the swamp steal your election!

  2. This is wrong and misleading.

    Nick 3 supporters know he is going to finish 2nd and the only way he can win is with second place votes from Sarah’s voters. He won’t get mine.

    I hope he schedules his election night party at the Aviator Inn so he can at least get a discount on the room as he sadly watches the numbers pile up.

    • So vote Sarah #1 and if she ends up being third, would you rather have Peltola? If not, then put Nick down for #2. What harm would you have if Nick ends up being third and is eliminated? Don’t be so narrow minded.

    • Jim, as disgusting as it is to me, I will rank your girl S.P. as my second choice. Despite Sarah’s inability to keep informed of the issues and knowing that she will only be using this office to further her ” brand”, she will still get my vote. I do this because electing the Democrat is a far more disgusting outcome.
      Pity that you don’t understand that.

      BTW, your girl peaked and apparently isn’t campaigning much, I hope for your sake that she stays clear of any debates too.

      I’ve talked to several women who were at the Trump Rally, they were definitely turned off by Sarah’s performance there. I guess the juxtaposition between SP and Kelly was pretty stark. You know, classy and intelligent vs a valley girl screecher. You get the picture.

    • He can’t have his party at The Aviator Hotel! The hotel has a contract and is housing homeless people. The meeting space is filled with food distribution and Social Worker meetings with the residents. This may be more expensive than paying Beans to let homeless people spend the night only to kick them out in the morning but it allows Federally funded Social Workers to consistently find the people they are supposed to help. I worked there part time for a while and know at least 27 people who were able to get their own place thus using reducing the number of people camping in illegal spaces. More got jobs as they had a real address and land line phones. Those people were trying to get out of homelessness. Again I only worked part time and didn’t know many “residents”, so Im sure there were more that got out of homelessness. Granted not a perfect system but better than what we had. By the way Nick is only a minority investor in the hotel, there are many others.

  3. Bernadette, please address this in the case of a voter who casts a vote for a single candidate and that candidate is eliminated from the running because that candidate is the recipient of the least number of votes in a round. Does that ballot still add to the number of votes figured in the 50% (as in the “winner must get at least 50% plus one”)?
    Assume 100 votes total are cast and 10 of those vote for only one candidate, and that candidate is eliminated in the first round. Does the winner in the second round need 51 votes to win, or 46?

  4. Ranked Choice Voting lets you rank your favorite first in two situations.
    Problem happens when you’re not sure you’re in one of those two situations.
    Safe situation 1 happens when your favorite beats the other leading candidate in the last round.
    Safe situation 2 happens when your favorite has no chance against either the leading candidate or candidates who could beat the leading candidate.
    Problem happens when your favorite’s in between those two situations, or you’re unsure whether your favorite’s in between those two situations.
    “In-between” means your favorite isn’t a clear loser or a clear winner.
    If your favorite’s an in-betweener, ranking your favorite number one risks getting a bad candidate elected.
    The bad candidate gets elected when RCV eliminates a good candidate too early.
    If your favorite’s an in-betweener or you’re not sure, you have two options:
    Rank your favorite first, risk a bad candidate winning. Rank your favorite -not- first, cost your your favorite much-needed support. Both options are bad.
    This scenario can and does happen in competitive elections. A famous example happened in the 2009 Burlington, Vermont election. Conservatives ranked their favorite candidate first and it got them their least favorite candidate elected. If these conservative voters had instead tactically placed their favorite candidate as second, then they would have gotten a much better outcome.
    Burlington voters since repealed RCV.
    Unfortunately, RCV’s complexity can make this “favorite betrayal” problem difficult to understand.
    But RCV’s complexity does not prevent the problem.
    RCV simply makes the problem difficult to explain when it does happen.
    And it will happen again.
    That’s your ramification, Bernadette.
    That’s before we get to the ramifications of Dominion voting machines, ballot harvesting, and why the Lieutenant Governor, whose job is to explain stuff like this, can’t even come close to explaining anything without accusing constituents of spreading “misinformation”, which is what one does when one lacks the cojones to call them liars to their faces.

    • You can only rank a candidate one time, if you rank the same candidate multiple times your ballot will be spoiled and your vote will not be counted.

      • No it won’t. The same candidate can be ranked 4 times if people vote for the same candidate each time. If everybody voted the same name then that name gets counted in 2 nd 3 rd and 4 th place. No other names get any votes period.

        • AS 15.15.350
          (e) When counting general election ballots,
          (1) a ballot containing an overvote shall be considered an inactive ballot once the overvote is encountered at the highest ranking for a continuing candidate;

          (f) The election board may not count an inactive ballot for any candidate.

          (g) In this section,

          (2) “inactive ballot” means a ballot that is no longer tabulated, either in whole or in part, by the division because it does not rank any continuing candidate, contains an overvote at the highest continuing ranking, or contains two or more sequential skipped rankings before its highest continuing ranking;

          (3) “overvote” means an instance where a voter has assigned the same ranking to more than one candidate

        • Wrong Mark. Just finished election training.
          Hope you are a Palin voter, please stand your ground on election day after the machine rejects your miss marked ballot. If you insist, we have to accept it.
          But it won’t be counted, it’s a miss marked ballot.
          There is such a thing

    • Yes you can also everybody needs to understand write in options. Just write in who you want. The left can’t tell you who to vote for and a write in candidate can win look at Lisa.

  5. Potentially four rounds of tabulating the vote equals four opportunities to manipulate the vote to the predetermined outcome. Beijing Biden only garnered enough “votes” by drawing out the counting process with mail in ballots and Dominion Voting machines. Ranked Choice Voting is going to be even more time consuming. We are all suckers if we allow this to stand!

      • That’s what I was thinking. Everything I have been reading about RCV is that it will get Murkowski reelected. Not checking her name at all seems like the logical thing to do. Maybe smarted RCV people could comment on this?

  6. 1) Your 4th rank vote will never matter when there are only four candidates; it would require five candidates to make a 4th rank vote relevant; this is a fallacy in the system. 2) Your 2nd rank choice will only ever matter if your 1st rank choice is eliminated; consequently, voting for Palin and Begich as your 2nd will unlikely matter. 3) Its basically a 3-way race in which Peltola’s voters could easily decide with their 2nd rank votes whether Palin or Begich wins.

  7. I was told by a DOE clerk that with the ranked choice voting if I didn’t fill out all four slots the machine would automatically throw out my ballot. Now I find out this isn’t true and I’m very upset that I did not get this clerk’s name as she is deceitfully misinforming the citizens of Anchorage.


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