Most voters in Alaska know they won’t be getting ballots in the mail for the Aug. 16 primary and special general election — not unless they requested absentee ballots be sent to them. Sarah Palin doesn’t know, however. And her voters may not know, because Palin is telling people their ballots will come in the mail.
Palin, Alaska’s reality TV ex-governor who is running for Congress, repeated the claim this week that Alaskans have a mail-in-only election.
At CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas this week, Palin is one of the featured celebrities. During her time on stage at on the opening day of the conference, she told the audience Alaska’s new ranked choice voting also means voters only vote by mail.
The primary election and special general election is still a traditional at-the-polls election, unless voters go to the trouble to apply for an absentee ballot, the directions of which are below. Early voting is already underway and thousands of Alaskans have already cast their ballots, many of them in person.
In fact, during the first three days of voting, Monday through Wednesday, 4,086 in-person ballots were cast for the Aug. 16 election that has a regular primary on one side of the ballot and a special general election for Congress on the other side. The number of absentee ballots returned as of now is 2,890, for a total of 7,376 ballots cast from the 598,000 registered voters in Alaska.
Watch the CSPAN video of Palin talking about issues, including Alaska’s voting system, at this link.
Later, Palin repeated the mail-in-only election claim to Steve Bannon, who interviewed her on the Rumble platform. Palin said, “Screw that freshman stuff, let me get right in there with all the other congressmen, or congresswomen, call me congressman….drill baby drill, freedom, stopping the RINOs, stopping the Democrats.”
“This new fangled weirdo voting system,” Palin said, speaking of the ranked choice voting method being practiced in Alaska’s general elections, as a result of Ballot Measure 2.
Then she said: “With this ranked choice voting, the third most popular candidate can actually win the thing,” she said.
Bannon said that Alaska has gone to “no paper ballots,” and Palin nodded her head in agreement and continued. The truth is that Alaskans vote with paper ballots. Palin was basically correct when she said there can be no hand count of a ranked choice voting result. There can be, but it would be extremely labor intensive.
Here’s that clip with Palin’s claims on Rumble:
It’s a mathematically impossibility for the third-place candidate to win on the three-candidate ballot. It is also nearly impossible for the third-place voter getter to win even if there are four candidates on the ranked choice ballot.
Palin is running both for the temporary fill-in seat for Congress and for the general election two-year seat. Her Republican Party endorsed opponent is Nick Begich, and she also faces Mary Peltola, a Democrat Party endorsed. Palin has not been endorsed by Alaska Republicans. She has the endorsement of Donald Trump and took the most votes on the 48-candidate special primary ballot for the temporary seat on Congress, with 27%. But 73% of voters picked someone else.
Palin, who is a political fixture in Alaska and in popular culture politics, is playing up the role of the political outsider while at CPAC, saying she will fight crony capitalism and corrupt Republicans.
Meanwhile, for Palin voters waiting for their ballots to arrive by mail, following her advice could mean missing out on the opportunity to vote for their candidate.
The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot is Aug. 6. If applying online, you must do so by 11:59 pm on Aug. 6 at this link. If mailing your application, it must arrive at Election offices on or before Aug 6. You can also apply in person at regional Election offices Aug 5: 8 am to 5 pm and Aug 6, 10 am-4 pm (But if you’re going in person to request an absentee ballot, you may as well just vote at that regional center, which is open for early voting.)
To date, more than 19,700 Alaskans have applied for absentee-by-mail ballots.