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Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Defend our democracy: Ballot Measure 2 is flawed

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By PETER ZUYUS

As an advocate for senior citizens and a senior myself, this November I will be voting no on Ballot Measure 2. I urge you to do the same.

As seniors, we have long valued our right to vote for the politicians of our choosing. In a state with the highest percentage of veterans in the nation, we all have friends who fought in the wars of the 20th Century to protect that right. As the most active share of the electorate, we exercise that right more so than any other demographic.

On Nov. 3, we will be asked to eliminate this liberty by enacting “ranked choice voting.”

Instead of our simple and transparent “one Alaskan, one vote” system, Ballot Measure 2 will force every senior to vote for all candidates in order of preference.

Democrats will be forced to vote for Republicans and Republicans will be forced to vote for Democrats.

Independents will have it even worse, losing their ability to petition onto the general election ballot.

The paid consultants shilling for Ballot Measure 2 claim you can simply vote for one candidate and leave the rest of the ballot blank.

What they don’t tell you is that your ballot will be thrown out if the candidate you choose is eliminated when the computer algorithm calculates the winner.

In fact, research shows that 10 to 27 percent of ballots are thrown out during ranked choice elections due to this very problem. 

Even if you play along and rank each candidate, seniors are most at risk of having their ballot thrown out due to voting mix-ups. Many of us have been voting for 50 years or more. Imagine entering a voting booth and receiving a ballot with 15 candidates that you must vote for in order of preference.

That’s exactly what happened in Portland, Maine in 2011 where voters were faced with a 225-bubble ballot. A single mistake – accidently ranking two candidates as your fifth choice or missing a row – could invalidate your entire ballot.

This problem of “spoiled ballots” is well documented. Research from San Francisco, where ranked choice has been used since 2004, shows that seniors are by far the most-impacted class of citizens followed closely by minority voters.

Voting should be simpler, not more complicated. 

But the flaws with Ballot Measure 2 are deeper than thrown out ballots and complicated computer algorithms. Ballot Measure 2 would change the type of politicians who get elected. Because every candidate must work to be your second or third-favorite choice, they will be less willing to take strong positions and defend seniors.

While a politician under our current system might be a vocal advocate for protecting Social Security and Medicare, a ranked choice politician will try to make everyone happy. This does not bode well for seniors who make up a very small portion of the electorate at 13 percent.

History is full of examples of societies and countries that turned their backs on seniors in times of economic stress or political pressure. As we enter a time of historic global unrest and economic distress, electing politicians who care about seniors’ issues is critically important.

This year, New York’s governor forced senior centers to accept COVID-19 patients, resulting in 6,500 senior deaths. The Texas lieutenant governor said seniors should be willing to die to save the economy. Many people believe we should end all pandemic precautions and keep seniors locked up in their nursing home cells until a cure is found.

As Alaskan seniors, we must step up to save our democratic voting system – not just for our own sake, but for those who come behind us.

Our friends and families need to know that the billionaires from New York funding Ballot Measure 2 do not have our best interests at heart. Our children and grandchildren will be proud and thankful that we stood firm and protected democracy in Alaska and the United States.

As we prepare to pass the torch to the next generation of Alaskans and enjoy our well-deserved retirement, let’s make sure our “one Alaskan, one vote” system makes it through the transition intact. Whether you’re voting by mail or in-person on Nov. 3, I urge you to defend our democracy and vote NO on Ballot Measure 2.

Pete Zuyus of Anchor Point is a retired telecommunications executive and Chief Information Officer for the State of Alaska and an advocate for seniors citizens. 

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Latest comments

  • Both parties hate measure 2, which should be all you need to know to approve it. Worse candidates for the two-party fear/hate machine = better candidates for the people!

  • Well said! Thanks.

  • Ballot Measure 2 is not deeply flawed, it is meant exactly as designed to circumvent the will of the populace to dilute their ability to choose their legislators.

    In Maine, in one case the third place candidate won. With our already arrogant leadership in the Anchorage Assembly and Juneau elected by a vocal radical minority, why would any reasonable person give these people more power?

    Most of us just desire to live our lives without interference. We pay our way, we pay full price for our housing, our heat, our food and our health care. We value our liberty.

    Ballot Measure 2 is another (not) baby step sacrificing the will of the unwashed masses to the benefit of the powerful elite pushing this society into socialism. Sadly, the uninformed may vote their way into socialism, only to find that others better than themselves must fight their way out to recover the crumbs left by the elite who have pilfered the system dry.

    • The old saying is that you vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out.

  • Thank you Peter, for a very good explanation of this terrible Proposition that’s being hoisted upon ALL of us Alaskans. I have been telling all who will listen that this is a very bad deal. I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent, though my wife will disagree, nonetheless, I tried reading the ballot language in the pamphlet the State sent to me. My take … If you don’t know … VOTE NO!
    It’s the most egregious language I have ever read and even a skilled linguistic would have trouble making heads or tales out it.
    Just VOTE NO on 2!!!

  • Ranked Choice Voting is a stinker right out of the gate.

    The ads supporting it make it sound like electing officials is no different than buying tortilla chips. A simplistic analogy for simple people.

    The reality is that RCV is nothing more than mob rule. Basically, if more than 50%, let’s say 50.0000001% of the people chose candidate X in their top three, they might win, even though only a small percentage chose that candidate as their first choice. (Votes for Candidate X fall out as: 10% first choice, 35% second choice, and 40% third choice. Does that really should like a candidate everyone will be happy with? Especially if Candidate Y got 45% first choice, but no second choice votes, thereby making it a tie with Candidate X until the 3rd choice ballots are considered.)

    While the anti BM 2 ads are a bit over the top with their fish guts analogy, it is a possibility that a candidate that very few people actually wanted as first choice will get elected.

    And, what if you do not want to rank the candidates you absolutely do not want in office? Is there a possibility of choosing “Never in a million years.” as a ranking? No. You have to rank them, regardless of how little you want them in, or your entire ballot may get tossed.

  • First a comment on the death of seniors due to COVID… None or very few of those ever needed to happen. The globalists needed those deaths to create the emergency and the Emergency Mandates that are crippling our economy and damaging our way of life. We are at war for the very existence of our nation, our freedom as Americans… Ranked Choice voting has its appeal. In fact, I don’t know for sure that it won’t create better elections than we have currently. We are so divided between right and left right now, there is no place and nothing that we can agree upon. The situation is actually dangerous for the future of our republic. I have come to the conclusion however that Ballot Measure 2 is not the best way to go for election reform, which is still sorely needed. I hope that the defeat of this Measure will not end the pursuit of election reform, the creation of term limits, and the much needed end of corruption in our political system…

    • I would like to see term limits in a ballot measure. I would also like to see every dollar of compensation to legislators voted upon by citizens. I would also like to see every government employee convicted of malfeasance stripped of citizenship and banned from all benefits and freedoms thereof. But these things will not happen.

  • I came to this because I was curious what “Ranked Voting” was.What does this have to do with dark money? The pro 2 ads about this only speaks of money. Ranked voting is right up there with the electoral college. Whatever dark money they’re talking about is nothing in comparison to your loss of decision.

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