THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
Backers of a proposed ballot initiative aimed at massively changing elections in Alaska have turned in more than 41,000 signatures in a bid to qualify the measure for this year’s ballot. It needed only 28,000 signatures.
It is discomfiting so many people were duped.
Backed primarily by moneyed Outside interests, the initiative boasts 25 pages of legalese that would radically change Alaska election law. Pushed by Alaskans for Better Elections, it would, among other things, institute ranked-choice voting, open primaries and limit campaign contributions.
Make no mistake, ranked-choice voting is a terrible idea designed to favor independents and the Left. You could end up voting for somebody you would never vote for in any other circumstances. A Republican could end up with his or her vote going to a Democrat. A Democrat could end up supporting a Republican he or she detests.
The Heritage Foundation describes ranked-choice voting as “a scheme to disconnect elections from issues and allow candidates with marginal support from voters to win elections.”
By any standard, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is no right-wing crank. He vetoed ranked-choice voting for runoffs in his state, saying it “often led to voter confusion, and that the promise that ranked-choice voting leads to greater democracy is not necessarily fulfilled.”
As for opening primary elections? Why? Closed primaries replaced onerous behind-closed-doors candidate selection. Open primaries hamstring a party’s ability to choose its strongest candidates and field those who adhere to and support its platform. How does that strengthen the electoral process and offer the best candidates?
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer moved to keep the question off the ballot, claiming the myriad extensive changes violate the state constitution’s single-subject requirement for initiatives.
Superior Court Judge Yvonne Lamoureux in October ruled against him and allowed the group to begin signature-gathering. The judge’s decision in under appeal.
If the question makes it onto the ballot, we can only cross our fingers and hope Alaskans finally see it for what it is – a way to dismantle our election system.