Like an infectious disease, the phenomenon of ranked-choice voting is sweeping the nation.
It’s already the law of the land in Maine, and is moving ahead in Nevada. As an Alaskan living through the ranked-choice nightmare this year, take it from me — do not let this system infiltrate your state.
Proponents will claim ranked-choice encourages bipartisanship, decreases the role of political parties in the electoral process and brings successful candidates to the center on policies. While that sounds good on paper, the reality is that it helps elect squishy candidates who will bend under pressure to support policy positions harmful to their constituencies.
Furthermore, ranked-choice voting produces confusion, delay, and in the case of the Alaska Congressional race, a loser-will-ultimately-win outcome.
Regardless of how much money is spent on voter education and instructing Alaskans on how to properly mark ballots, many voters will inevitably make errors filling in bubbles, thereby “spoiling” their ballot. That’s one of the sneaky ways ranked-choice supporters help losers become winners. For every spoiled ballot, the 50%-plus-one vote threshold shrinks.
While Florida was able to count their 7.7 million votes on election night, Alaskans didn’t know results from its 265,000 voters until Thanksgiving eve, November 23.
The delay only fueled skepticism and suspicion about our process. The combination of ranked-choice voting and Alaska’s election timelines allowed the segment of the state already doubtful of election integrity to have a loud voice on social media and on talk radio these past few weeks.
Above all else, ranked-choice voting elevates unpopular candidates, opposed by more people than supported — meaning the will of the majority of the electorate is not represented.
Look no further than the U.S. Congressional race, won by Democrat Mary Peltola, whose victory came only after two of her opponents’ ranked-choice votes were re-allocated. Peltola’s pre-ranked-choice percentage of 48.8% was a solid showing, but still, the majority of Alaska voted against her and her party’s priorities.
At the state level, we will see the same trend across contested races, with the balance of power of both chambers likely shifting to bipartisan caucuses that will require horse-trade policy positions to maintain order and hold the coalitions together this coming session.
And that horse-trading and the proliferation of losers-become-winners outcome will bring policy positions to governing bodies that will harm our state and nation.
In such a narrowly divided lower chamber, Congresswoman Peltola will face pressure to support the Democrats’ agenda, including on energy. We’ve seen the results of the left’s war on traditional energy these past two years, with gas and heating prices run amok, an increased reliance on the Communist Chinese Party, Russia and other unfriendly-to-the-U.S. nations. Supply shortages are the new normal – all direct results from the democratic green movement.
Although Peltola campaigned on a platform of continued responsible development of specific oil, gas and mining projects throughout Alaska, she still opposes opportunities and prospects that would help create additional jobs in rural Alaska, drive domestic supplies of critical and strategic minerals, and help meet the exponentially-increasing levels of demand for copper and other materials critical to ‘going green’.
In addition, she has waffled on development of the 10-02 area of ANWR, which was specifically set aside by Congress decades ago for future oil and gas development, first saying, “I support exploration guaranteed by ANILCA pending rigorous regulatory assessments and ongoing local buy-in”, then changing it after pressure from environmental groups to “[development] should proceed as long as there is support by the people that live there and protections in place for our natural resources, including the caribou.”
All three of her opponents in the race were more favorable to those opportunities. In winning via ranked-choice, Peltola stands to harm the energy future of Alaska and America if she capitulates to the Democratic stated objective of ending fossil fuel development.
As ranked-choice advocates parlay their success in Alaska across the nation these next few years, remember these words of warning, and work to reject their efforts. Snake-oil salesmen have been selling “magic” wares for hundreds of years, and ranked-choice voting falls into the same bag of tricks.
If you value sound policy coming from elections where winners win, ranked-choice voting isn’t for you.
It has failed Alaskans. Don’t let your state be next.
Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.