Ballot Measure 2, which created ranked choice voting in Alaska, was sold to voters as a way to keep something called “dark money” out of Alaska politics.
Instead, it was Outside dark money that convinced voters to approve a voting scheme unlike anywhere in the world.
Alaskans are now stuck with a dystopian election system that no one seems to be able to clearly explain — not even the small group of Democrat-leaning activists who tricked voters into passing it, a group that which has anointed itself as the official “explainer,” helping bewildered voters understand jungle primaries and ranked choice voting general elections.
Alaskans for Better Elections, as the group is called, is the activist organization that created the system Alaskans voted for, 50.55% in favor and 49.45% against, in 2020. It’s now the group explaining the system to those same voters, many of whom are mystified about what they have done in passing this initiative.
ABE is doing the explaining through outreach to “influencers,” through civic organizations such as Rotary, and “opinion leaders,” but mainly through left-leaning entities.
It has had little success reaching conservative voters, and its faint attempts have not been enthusiastically received by the hard Right. After all, given a choice to rank Gov. Mike Dunleavy against Bill Walker and Les Gara, many conservatives will just fill in the name by Dunleavy and then walk away from the dilemma choice between Walker and Gara. This is called bullet voting, or single-shot voting, which is when, in an election where a voters are entitled to vote for more than one candidate, instead only votes for one.
A voter might do this either because it is easier than evaluating all the candidates, or as a form of tactical voting. This tactic can be used to maximize the chance that the voter’s favourite candidate will be elected, while increasing the risk that other favored candidates will lose. A group of voters using this tactic consistently has a better chance for one favorite candidate to be elected, according to an explanation in Wikipedia.
Outside money totaling $7 million was spent to persuade Alaskans to give Ranked Choice Voting a go. Alaskans were told that the scheme gives people “more choice.” The ballot initiative was 25 pages long, but what voters saw on the ballot itself was a thin summary.
Alaskans for Better Elections, which birthed Ballot Measure 2, is led by former Rep. Jason Grenn, who himself admits that people should not cast a vote for anyone they don’t wish to see in office.
Yet in other messaging, the group says that if voters don’t rank second and third place choices, their ballots may lose their power if their first-choice candidate does not advance.
Some analysts say that those in favor of Chris Kurka for governor are bullet-voters, who will only vote for Kurka and then walk away, finding the other choices too distasteful.
The Alaskans for Better Elections group has published a train-the-trainer guide for civic leaders and other influencers that all but admits in the lower right corner there will be questions the trained individuals cannot answer:
Alaskans for Better Elections, after winning Ballot Measure 2, became the standing 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission it is to keep the system from being axed by legislators, something which the Legislature is entitled to do two years after an initiative passes. It’s funded by Outside money.
The organization is steered by hardcore leftists.
On the steering committee for Alaskans for Better Elections:
- Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gidáak Blake – Nonpartisan, hardline leftist Alaska Native who is on the Juneau Assembly; a former Bill Walker staffer.
- Sheldon Fisher – Republican, former Gov. Bill Walker’s commissioner of Revenue and commissioner of Administration.
- Penny Gage – Undeclared party, National Congress of American Indians.
- Jan Hardy – Nonpartisan, self-described labor activist in Anchorage, signer of Recall Dunleavy petition.
- Katherine Jernstrom – Undeclared party, co-founder of The Boardroom, where nonprofits are housed, and where leftist campaign office of Ship Creek Group is located.
- Karl Kassel – Undeclared party, former mayor of Fairbanks North Star Borough, and tightly knit with Walker World, signer of the Recall Dunleavy petition.
- Ben Kellie – CEO & founder of The Launch Company, and signer of the Recall Dunleavy petition.
- Cordelia Kellie – Special assistant for rural affairs for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
- Albert Kookesh – Democrat, former Democrat state senator, Native elder.
- Lesil McGuire – former Republican state senator and representative.
- Mike Navarre – Democrat, former mayor of Kenai.
- La Quen Náay Liz Medicine Crow – Sealaska employee, First Alaskans Institute, political activist.
- Pamela Parker – Democrat, Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, signer of the Recall Dunleavy petition.
- Pat Race – Democrat activist, blogger, Juneau podcaster, signer of Recall Dunleavy and active with the Recall Dunleavy group.
- Greg Razo – Democrat activist and signer of the Recall Dunleavy petition.
- Derek Reed – Democrat, former president of Anchorage Democrats, and signer of the Recall Dunleavy petition.
- Kimberly Waller – Democrat, Director, Diversity and Inclusion at The Foraker Group, mainly funded by the Rasmuson Foundation.
Fully 15 of the 17 members of the steering committee are demonstrably left-leaning, with only two registered Republicans on the entire committee, one of whom was a high-ranking official in the Democrat-endorsed Gov. Bill Walker administration.
Forty-one percent of the Alaskans for Better Elections steering committee signed the petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
What works “better” for the Alaskans for Better Elections steering committee is to ensure Democrat voters are educated on how to vote, and to ensure Republican voters are confused and discouraged from voting altogether.
What will work best for Republicans is to vote with gusto on Aug. 16 and in November, and elect members to the Legislature who will take care of the Democrat-favoring Ballot Measure 2.