Ranked choice voting? Why progressives want it here



The day before the Independence Day holiday last summer, local progressives filed a petition ironically named “Alaskans for Better Elections,” which would destroy the integrity of Alaska’s elections. If passed, the ballot initiative would bring us ranked-choice voting. The petition was sponsored, in part, by former District 22 Rep. Jason Grenn.You may remember that Mr. Grenn was soundly defeated by now-Rep. Sara Rasmussen in 2018. Are sour grapes on the menu here? 

In a ranked-choice general election, voters would “rank” their choice of four candidates for a given office. Candidates garnering more than 50% of the vote in the first ranking would win office immediately. If no one person wins a majority, candidates are whittled away and ranking continues until one individual is declared the winner. 

This initiative is backed nearly entirely by Outside donations; its major supporter is a Colorado-based organization that gave $500,000 in one pop last month.

Progressives will say this election system brings more moderate voices to the Legislature. Perhaps that is the way Mr. Grenn sees himself. When viewed in practicality, however, this initiative can largely be seen as a plan by progressives to take control of Alaska’s political system. Ranked-choice voting has been implemented in Maine, as well as in municipalities in California and Michigan, locations which can hardly be considered strongholds of conservative political thought. 

Perhaps what is probably most appealing to Mr. Grenn and his initiative supporters is, however, that ranked-choice voting enables candidates with limited voter support to win elections. Maybe Mr. Grenn believes he could have defeated Rep. Rasmussen in 2018, even without support from his constituents, under this system. All Mr. Grenn would have had to do to continue to be considered is not be the candidate with the lowest votes received; he could have persisted in the race long after his expiration date. 

Consider this – a 2015 study of four local elections in Washington and California using ranked-choice ballots found that the winner in all four elections never received a majority of the votes. This is because voters usually do not rank all possible candidates.

For the sake of expediency and their own sanity, voters typically only list their top two or three candidates. If those candidates are eliminated, then so are the votes of these individuals. Under a ranked-choice system, ballots that do not include the ultimate victors are summarily cast aside.

While this creates the appearance of a majority of votes in favor of the winner, it obscures actual voter choices; it’s a system that fundamentally disenfranchises voters. 

In Maine’s 2018 federal congressional race, the conservative incumbent was thrown out, despite receiving a plurality of votes in the initial election. Maine’s Secretary of State eliminated more than 14,000 ballots that didn’t rank the remaining candidates and handed the win to the liberal challenger. 

Australia’s 2010 election had a strikingly similar outcome; the liberal party took over the House, despite receiving 38% of the initial vote. The conservative party received 43% of the vote, but was somehow denied victory. 

One can see why progressives are so excited about this proposal. It reeks of elitism and is engineered to pad the fortunes of liberal candidates. Alaskan voters, don’t let yourselves be taken in. If this initiative reaches your ballot next year, vote it down.

Ann Brown, formerly of Fairbanks, now lives in Anchorage. She is an experienced trial lawyer who was the managing partner of her firm’s branch office, with a focus on labor and employment law. Currently retired, she is the vice chair of the Alaska Republican Party.


  1. The local group is making the rounds of the Anchorage community councils and seeking support. They visited the Basher Community Council in November.

  2. No room for that sort of voting here in Alaska… We stand to lose to much to the DemoRat Liberals if this isn’t turned down. Keep the elections and procedures the way it has been. It’s fair and in my opinion the only way voting should take place. They want to take over at any cost and this is our opportunity to say NO. Funded by outside sources is all one needs to hear.. Nope!

  3. Grenn is not ethical or honest in his deliberation on the intentions he spouts off. Alaskans have had far too many unethical politicians in these last several decades, and this is why the state is broke. His intentions are to run Alaska into the same craphole as California and little Mogodishu are in and then strip Alaskans of all rights. He is a wolf trying to come off as a sheep and the stench that fallows his mind set is fully apparent all over California, Oregon, Washington and the like.

  4. Thank you Ann Brown . I don’t know how others vote but I always rank the candidates when I go into the voting booth. I rank the candidate I choose number One!

  5. Yesterday when I went to the Palmer Post Office the Petitioners were hawking “Open Primaries” petitions to sign.

    As I understand it, open primaries help opposition parties (Democrats?) divide the vote for the other party (Republicans?) to allow lessor known candidates to win the primary, thus making them easier to defeat when those that switched parties for the primary revert back to their true party. I believe that is the current strategy for defeating the ever popular Don Young. Being rather new to Alaska politics do I have this right?

    It goes right along with “ranked voting” to defeat the majority to gain elitist rule as this article points out. We have certainly seen how the mess of fractured political governing works in Europe where coalitions of disparate parties never get anything accomplished. And, as Ann has said in this article, it has knocked out conservative candidates in the U.S. where the method has been adopted. There is a reason the traditional “two-party” majority rule system has worked so well in our country up to now, despite it’s faults. It prevents a minority to dictate to the majority in matters of government and it allows the majority to pass or defeat laws.

    The intent of these petitions is anything but “open” voting!

  6. Maine, Leftifornia and Michigan are not exactly role models for America. One need only look at what the impact of leftism has done for them. Most every facet of American life is under assault by the left, especially with the “ranked” voting scheme. What happens frequently with this con, is many times there is only one political party (dems) left on the final vote and top positions go only to them. Vote manipulation in various ways (ballot harvesting, registering cons, illegals, deceased, etc.) is already in full swing in many areas of America. I believe the system is called the “Jungle Primary” system. Even sounds un-American/Alaskan to me. If Alaska ever approves this system, it will be the death-knell for most freedoms we currently enjoy.

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