Tuckerman Babcock: The Scott Kendall Ballot Measure 2 election nightmare — special election edition

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By TUCKERMAN BABCOCK

Scott Kendall, former 2016 campaign legal counsel for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and later chief of staff to former Gov. Bill Walker, has designed an election system nightmare that is going to force Alaskans to pay a very heavy price this year.

The election nightmare is a so-called “ranked choice” voting system designed by and pushed by Kendall. Narrowly adopted by Alaskans after a massive dark money campaign to get us to vote yes, Ballot Measure 2 passed by just a 1 percent margin.

Never mind that the whole rotten scheme was written to try and help Murkowski get reelected, because she has zero chance of ever winning a Republican Primary election. This was overturning an entire election process just to try and help one person stay in office.

So what are the consequences of Kendall’s scheming?

  1. Less information available for voters. In our traditional system, the primary allowed Alaskans to choose the Democrat and Republican nominees. Now, no one will know whether a candidate is, or is not, really a Democrat or Republican. Alaskans lost the ability to nominate the party candidate. From now one, every candidate can choose whatever party of convenience they want at the moment – and nobody will be the wiser.
  2. The election cannot be determined by humans counting ballots. The Scott Kendall scheme requires algorithms and computers to take charge of counting. When there is a problem — and there will be problems — judges will decide our election for us.
  3. Scott Kendall promised his rank system would ensure every winner gets 50 percent.  50 percent of what? In every place around the country any sort of ranked choice has been tried, between 2-14 percent of the voters have their votes tossed aside before the final tally.  What does that mean?  Of the 100% of those that go to vote, the final tally only includes maybe 90 percent of them.  So the winner wins with 50 percent of 90 percent…which is 45 percent.  Does that make any sense at all?
  4. Scott Kendall forgot to mention that everywhere ranked choice is imposed, turnout among the elderly and people of color has declined.  That is just a miserable fact. He knew it, if he did any research, but that apparently did not matter as much as trying to rig the system for his former bosses.
  5. Huge delays and exorbitant costs. Alaska, even under our traditional system, was the very last state to report our vote in the national election. Now, with the Scott Kendall ranked choice nightmare, we will be lucky to have a final vote count before the governor is required to be sworn in on Dec. 3. Best estimates are two to three weeks for a result at best.
  6. Special election fiasco. Scott Kendall also changed our special election process. In the past, we had one election and quickly filled our congressional vacancy. Alaska would  be deprived of representation in Congress for a couple of months. But Scott Kendall tossed that aside and created a two election process for special elections. What does that do? A: We spend an extra one or $2 million on an extra election. B: We are stopped from filling any vacancy for 4-5 months just to satisfy the weird process designed by Scott Kendall.
  7. Why do we have two elections? If you use ranked choice, you only need to pay for and hold one election. The choices will all be ranked and the votes tabulated and re-tabulated until a candidate gets 50 percent. Done — no need for two elections.
  8. Holding an election to nominate four candidates where each voter votes once and then holding a second election to elect one candidate where each voter gets to vote five times is the most ridiculous and absurd thing I have ever heard of.

The special election designed by Scott Kendall is a waste of time, waste of money, waste of votes. He has succeeded in turning Alaska’s elections into a wasteland of needless expense, confusion, and computerized mystery. No state uses the system Scott Kendall designed, and for good reason.

The unfortunate death of our longtime congressman has highlighted the nightmare that is Scott Kendall’s election system. 

Unless the Legislature acts immediately, we will be deprived of a having our member of Congress for an extra three or four months because of the horrible and thoughtless redesign of our elections by Scott Kendall. Alaskans will be asked to hold and pay for four statewide elections between July and November, millions of dollars utterly wasted.

What can be done?

At least this: Eliminate the totally pointless special election “primary” election.  We never had one before and we do not need one now.   One special election, ranked choice (since we must for this year) and one candidate wins with 50 percent. It’s half the trouble and half the cost. Get an Alaskan back in Congress twice as fast.

This is not about helping Democrats or Republicans. This is just doing what is right for Alaska.

Tuckerman Babcock is a past president of the Alaska Republican Party and is a candidate for Alaska Senate, to represent the Kenai Peninsula.

35 COMMENTS

  1. How and Who? There certainly won’t be a Robert’s Rules of how to get out of this mess we voted ourselves into.

    • That is the point, how do we know we voted for this system? Were we not using the Dominion Voting Systems here? Were we using mail in voting because of the plannedemic? Did Alaskans really vote for this debacle of an election process? The Dominion Machines have already been examined and found to be able to connect wirelessly to the internet and have a software that allows for easy manipulation of votes, also know as vote flipping. Did Alaska take any Zuckerbucks for the 2020 election giving access to third party organizations of our voter rolls? Is Alaska using ERIC (Election Registration Information Center) to review its voter rolls? ERIC is funded by George Soros and leftist organizations and were recently dropped by the State of Louisiana. They were found to not be cleaning the voter rolls leaving hundreds of thousands of “Ghost Voters” on the rolls that could be used on fake ballots for a determined candidate. Where is our Governor on these glaring problems, has he once spoken about having forensic experts review our elections or the electronic machines we are using? That is why I will vote for Chris Kurka for Governor. He is running on election integrity for our State.

  2. It’s a nightmare, and designed not only to get specific loser candidates elected, but to discourage voters from thinking their votes even count. Hard to believe that the SCOAK allowed this to happen… well, maybe no so hard to believe.

  3. Big surprise. An article from a Republican Party operative criticizing rank choice voting! The Republican Party opposed ballot measure 2 because when it became law, party operatives like Mr. Babcock lost the power they held over Republican candidates, who hewed to their demands in order to stand a chance of winning the closed Republican primary controlled by the Republican Party. Apparently an election system that lets the majority of the people pick the candidates and the winner strikes Mr. Babcock with fear, and fills him with dire predictions of terrible things to come!

    Mr. Babcock cites one such horror as the possibility that the winner of a ranked choice vote might receive only 45% of the vote, because 10% of voters did not rank that candidate, but that’s not necessarily the case. The 10% of voters who didn’t complete their ballots are saying, in effect, that if their candidate doesn’t win, they can’t decide who among the other candidates should win. So their ballots should not be included when calculating the percentage of the vote obtained by the winner.

    A more interesting question is whether ranked choice voting will increase voter turnout, because it’s more open format is more inviting to voters, because their choices have not been skewed to candidates who pledge fealty to party insiders, or take extremist positions to sate the hard core base. Under rank choice voting you get to narrow the field of candidates down to 4, and you have a greater voice in the final vote because you get to rank all of the candidates.

  4. I never voted for rank choice voting, mail in voting, nor did We get the chance to vote for redistricting the voting map. Someone needs to pull a democrat move and vox them

  5. Put it back on the ballot as a referendum to rescind this practice. Don’t rely on your elected officials. Lets do this ourselves. If you want something done right….. call for a Constitutional Convention. I know the will of the people that live in Alaska will far outlive the whims of the political hacks that want to try to make their way for only say, 10 years, and then have something more important to do. Some politicians put their life in it and those are apparent. The ones making waves will come and go. Let them go and do this ourselves.

  6. So the more we know, the worse it gets. Scott Kendall has an interesting history relating to both Senator Murkowski and former governor Bill Walker. Are there any ethics left in being an attorney? Or did they throw them out? And how DID this abomination get through the AK Supreme Court? There is an old saying – if you don’t understand it, don’t vote for it. How could anyone have understood this? Best thing to do is to put a recall or cancellation of this THING on the next ballot so voters can get back to something that makes sense. Oh, and while you are at it, can Scott Kendall and Bill Walker be disbarred? Just dreaming…..

  7. “Narrowly adopted by Alaskans after a massive dark money campaign…”
    .
    May we suggest pausing right there.
    .
    Alaska’s Dominion vote-tabulation machinery assures Alaskan voters have no idea what they “adopted”.
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    No so-called election observer can, with any credibility observe vote counting because nobody knows exactly how the proprietary Dominion software works.
    .
    Nobody did a forensic audit on the Dominion vote tabulation machinery… why?
    .
    If, as we seem to agree, dark money influenced, let’s just say bought, the election outcome, who can say with absolute certainty that dark-money influence did not reach into the vote-tabulation process?
    .
    Here we are with a legislature composed of GOP Inc. and Democrat Inc. who, by their deafening silence, seem perfectly content with the in-your-face corruption of Alaska’s electoral system… why?
    .
    While Scott Kendall may be the Devil Incarnate, it’s the machinery which installed him and props him up that should worry Alaska’s voters.
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    To Tuckerman Babcock we ask, what can Alaska voters do about it? What could bring down Kendall, throw a monkey wrench in his machinery, maybe a Project Veritas investigation?
    .
    Now it seems reasonable to ask, given Future Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s ties to Communist China, what part of this “dark money” came from foreign sources such as Communist China who’ve a vested interest in Walker’s political success.
    .
    In other words, to hell with a level playing field, tilt the thing big time with ranked-choice voting, Dominion vote-counting gear to help the Communist Chinese get what they want.
    .
    Not directly of course, that would be rude… but why not through proxyship of Walker and the Democrat Party, with GOP RINO help, of course?
    .
    Where do we go from here, Tuckerman?

  8. You are quite right on the 45% threshold. There is no requirement under Kendall’s system for a candidate to get 50% in order to win. They just have to get more than the other candidate once all but the last two candidates have been eliminated. If you have more than the other guy once they’ve pulled all the other ballots out of the pile, you’re in!

    To add insult to injury, the state is now purchasing about 150 more Dominion voting machines to be able to count all the ranked-choice ballots, and our precincts who normally hand count their ballots will be prohibited by the Division of Elections from doing so, even if they only have a handful of ballots to count.

    The Division of Elections has also signaled that the counting machines will be programed to spit out an error message even when the ballots have been filled out correctly. Single issue and more discriminating voters who choose to cast all of their votes for the same candidate will be told they did something wrong, even though their ballot is 100% legal and will be counted that way. It’s all part of the pressure designed to get Republicans to cast a few more votes for Democrats, even if they are only for 3rd and 4th-ranked candidates. In some races, all they will need are those few Republican votes in order to win.

    Kendall’s manipulation will be especially costly to Alaska since we only have one voice in the US House. When California has a vacancy in Congress, there are 52 other Congressmen to speak for the interests of California. When Alaska has a vacancy, there is no one to carry our voice.

    We will go through the expense of holding two special elections to determine a replacement for Don Young, but by the time that person is chosen and can get down to DC, there will be less than 30 days left that the House will actually be in session (and that includes the lame duck session after the November election). Alaska is getting ripped off.

    Please support House Bill 381, which is a full repeal of Ballot Measure 2:
    ‘http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/32?Root=HB%20381

    • Thank you Rep. Eastman for bringing this into the light. I hope you are getting support for this bill, all Alaskans need to call their elected officials to get this monstrosity repealed! If it is true the State is purchasing more of these vote stealing Dominion Machines, the Governor must be called out on it immediately. They are manipulating Alaskans votes. He recently stated he was tightening election integrity which obviously was a lie if they are purchasing more of these machines. Alaska, this is a direct assault on your freedom to choose who runs your State. Your vote will mean little if this continues. We must repeal measure 2 and remove electronic voting. Paper Ballots with special watermarks and signature verification only, hand counted! There is more than enough evidence to prove the Dominion Machines are manipulating elections, just look at the Arizona audit. Our elected officials (exception Rep. Eastman) are ignoring this.

  9. Toadies! Fifty (45) percent off today! Help secure the elections you won’t win. “Table 16 may leave the lunch room.”

  10. Maybe if you’d done a better job of recruiting and vetting alleged “Republicans”, we wouldn’t be here.

    Most of the people I know who voted for this did so in the mistaken belief (heavily pushed by Mike Porcaro) that it would help elect reliable Republicans.

    It didn’t help you backed a feckless, failed governor in Mike Dunleavy.

    In a whole lot of ways this is a lifetime achievement award by the Alaska GOP. Push bad people, sloppy vetting, voter apathy, and a vote the R incumbent no matter how crappy they are.

    It’s not like you and the Alaska GOP did much to challenge people like Princess, Von Imhof, and Stutes for years.

    You want to get elected and you appear to be trying to get sympathy votes by involving Walker (Kendall doesn’t change his underwear without Walkers approval) and Princess.

    You planted the seeds, watered the soil, fertilized the hell out of them, and watched them grow. Now you complain about your own crop.

  11. What utterly galls and outrages me about this inherently untransparent, unnecessarily complicated, and corruption-prone ranked choice voting system is the undeniable fact that NO recount is even possible, as the computer is the one who really decides the final outcome. If one were looking for a voting system to suborn, this system is tailor-made for exactly that.

  12. What was voted in could be voted out. But only if people were willing to participate in a clown show and most are not. Remember what it takes to escape tyranny once you have voted your way into it.

  13. Mr. Babcock appears to be furious about not being anointed by his party elite for his state senate seat. The power to select a candidate is now in the hands of all the people he wants represent, not a cabal. Causing confusion and frightening people about a simple way to vote is his form of voter suppression.

      • Love to see a cage match between Babcock and Kendall. Proceeds go to the women’s shelters……along with the loser. I’d still put odds in favor of Tuckerman. Puny Scott Kendall needs his in-laws for protection.🤣🤣

        • Kendall wouldn’t survive long in the Women’s Shelter. Abused women don’t like crybaby boys. They grow up to be abusers. Case in point, Bill Walker’s former disgraced Lt. Governor.

  14. Tuckerman failed to mention how the 4-person general election will in most cases eliminate 3rd parties from relevancy. And this means from across the spectrum. Greens, Libertarians, AIP, Veterans, Socialists. The AIP has spent decades keeping its “officially recognized” party status, and now – unless someone with name recognition and a private fortune joins – will not have a name on the general election ballot. This is called “empowering” the voters’ options? And how many Alaskans tune in to politics in August, anyway? The cultural realities ought to have a spring primary, not one in late August. Primaries ought to have never been a state-run affair. Bring in closed primaries where each party must pay for and run their own private elections or have their conventions choose a candidate, and watch how party membership would skyrocket.

  15. This entire mess goes back to 2002 when I put Lisa in my old seat. The alternative was to pick a guy, that the Republican Party and Nancy, told me would be a disaster for Conservatives. So here we are 20 years later faced by an evil lawyer with ill-intent, and a Democratic Party serving as his mob army, trying to retain my half-wit, brain-damaged offspring. She blindly will be led down the path of greedy, power-hungry socialists. Alaska never before had this problem. The unions and their Democrat providers infiltrated our election process to serve their narrow needs. And they got it through intimidation and propaganda. Lisa has been used and obviously enjoys it. That’s why Nancy and I are supporting Kelly T., to the finish line.
    .
    Good analysis, Tuckerman. You clearly see the agenda of the Democrats, union boss goons, and Bill Walker, that spiteful old man who is hellbent on revenge. All of this orchestrated by Scott Kendall, a little misfit who gets used effectively by his mentor, The Disgraced Bill Walker.

  16. Rank Choice Voting is all about getting Bill Walker re-elected. He’s a disgrace to the entire state.

    • Judie,
      You are pretty close to being correct. The REAL reason for RCV was to eliminate the Closed Republican Primary. If there was a regular primary, like Alaska has had since statehood, manipulators like Bill Walker would be ousted before the general election. That’s why the evil Walker had his miniature troll, Scott Kendall, put union members to work getting enough petition signatures to put RCV on the ballot. Alaskans were truly hoodwinked on this measure.

  17. Mr. Babcock is just plain wrong on so many levels. Let’s go through his ‘points’:

    1. There is no less information available for voters with ranked choice voting – the voting method has no bearing whatsoever on how informed voters are. Mr. Babcock’s limited world view leaked through when he claims that voters won’t know to “choose the Democrat or the Republican”, as if there were only two parties, and independent minded voters did not exist. In fact, registered Republicans and Democrats each represent a small minority of Alaskan voters. Why should minority Republicans or Democrats be the gatekeepers of any election in a state with a huge number of independent voters?

    2. A ranked choice election result can easily be determined by humans counting ballots; it’s not rocket science. Ballot counting software is written by humans to perform a series of mundane steps faster, more accurately, precisely, and transparently than humans can. Don’t let Mr. Babcock gaslight you into thinking that counting votes requires artificial intelligence and arcane algorithms. I’m a computer programmer so trust me when I say that writing software to count ballots would be a breeze compared to just about any other task.

    3. I’m not sure where Mr. Babcock is going with his incoherent rant in #3. In any election, ranked choice or not, some votes get tossed. Let’s not forget that a large proportion of the eligible voters don’t show up to vote at all. If having a plurality of voters is important (and I think it is) then we should enact mandatory voting and fight hard against Mr. Babcock’s party’s efforts to deter voting.

    4. I can’t speak to Mr. Babcock’s sources for ranked choice voting depressing turnout among classes of voters and rigging elections but see #3 above.

    5-6. Since we haven’t had a ranked choice election I think it’s premature to say there will be delays and extra costs. If ‘weird process’ means improved representation and a loosened grip on the election process by political parties then count me weird.

    7. Mr. Babcock, I need to point out that you are confusing a primary with an election. There are not two elections. Just one. If a primary is an election then we’ve had two ‘elections’ per election all along.

    8. Trying not to face-palm here. See #7 above. A primary is not an election. Nobody gets five votes. At the end of ballot tabulation everybody gets one vote that counts. This is as it should be.

    Ranked choice voting is a good thing for all Alaskans. How many times have you had to hold your nose and vote for a candidate you really didn’t like simply because you thought your preferred candidate might not have a chance and the alternative was downright horrifying? With ranked choice voting you don’t have to do that anymore. It’s like choosing among your friends what kind of pizza to get. You go through the choices, vote on them, and toss out the wingnut toppings that most people don’t like and vote again until you all have a choice that is acceptable. Mr. Babcock, a representative of a minority political party in Alaska, is trying to frighten you with talk about mysterious computer algorithms and a super scary boogey man named Scott Kendall. Don’t let him. He’s just trying to convince you to cede control of Alaska’s elections back to his party. Ignore him. Ranked choice voting is understandable, sensible, transparent and fair.

    • Scott, your comment item 2 above contends vote counting is very simple and software would be among the easiest written. I agree. In fact, it seems so simple as to be unnecessary; see my manual counting comment below. Moreover, why on earth would such rudimentary software need to be connected to the internet for repetitive re-calibration (as reported by mainstream media regarding Dominion machines)?

        • Ranked-choice voting is used for state primary, congressional, and presidential elections in Alaska and Maine and for local elections in more than 20 US cities including Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; Oakland, California; Berkeley, California; San Leandro, California; Takoma Park, Maryland; St. Paul, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Portland, Maine; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and St. Louis Park, Minnesota. New York City is the largest voting population in the US using RCV. – Wikipedia

  18. Lets go back to 5th grade arithmetic. Juneau has about 8500 votes per election. A person can count 4 ballots per minute, conservatively. That is 240-ballots per man-hour. Therefore, it takes about 35-manhours of actual hands-on counting for one Juneau election. Let’s multiply those man-hours by a factor of 3.5 to include gathering, logistics, set-up, supervision, recounting, etc (the poll workers are volunteer). The adjusted total is 35×3.5=122.5-manhours total. 122.5 x $60/mhr = $7350 total labor to count and recount all the ballots in a typical Juneau election. That is roughly $1/vote. Extend the estimate state-wide, the total cost of counting by hand is about $320,000. Why are we even fooling around with counting machines?

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