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Alaska’s Ranked-Choice Voting Scheme Was A Plot To Save Murkowski, But It Also Doomed Palin
The Federalist. ^ | SEPTEMBER 09, 2022 | Tristan Justice

Posted on 09/09/2022 4:20:31 AM PDT by george76

In order to avoid a Republican primary, Murkowski operatives orchestrated a takeover of state election laws.

Election officials called Alaska’s special election House race for Democrat Mary Peltola over 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin last week. Peltola’s victory, despite nearly 60 percent of votes cast for a Republican on all first-choice ballots, will mark the first time since 1973 that a Democrat will represent the state in the lower chamber.

Whether the August contest was Palin’s race or Republican Nick Begich’s race to lose is an open question. Whether the Republicans’ loss was a consequence of Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system, however, is no doubt, and GOP Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the one to blame.

Murkowski’s Plot to Avoid a Primary.

In 2010, Sen. Murkowski captured re-election through a triumphant write-in campaign after losing the Republican primary to a former federal magistrate who was backed by Palin. Murkowski comfortably won a third full term in 2016 but continued to antagonize the state’s Republican base with votes to oppose restrictions on abortion, preserve Obamacare, and convict President Donald Trump in his second impeachment. Murkowski also voted “present” in the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and she upset constituents when last year she served as the tie-breaker to move forward the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who has shut down state development projects.

In other words, Murkowski did not strive to win over Republicans in a state that went for Trump by 10 points in 2020. To save her seat, Murkowski operatives devised a plan to avoid a primary by radically transforming the state’s election system. The answer became ranked-choice voting, a ballot system to rig elections in favor of the incumbent.

Under the ranked-choice ballot system, the traditional partisan primary is replaced by an open-party contest where the top four candidates advance to the general election. Voters then “rank” their preferred candidates in the ensuing race. If none receives a majority, or more than 50 percent of the first-choice ballots cast, the votes are tabulated again and the lowest scoring candidate is eliminated. The losing candidate’s ballots then count toward their second-choice pick, and the process is repeated until a candidate reaches more than 50 percent of the vote.

In August, the investigative group Project Veritas published tapes of Murkowski operatives bragging about fundamentally changing the state’s electoral system to keep Murkowski in power. Democrats, they theorized, would rank Murkowski as their number two preference, giving the incumbent senator the upper hand when the Democrat candidate is eliminated as the lowest vote-getter in a three-way race. This year the contest is between Murkowski, main Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka, and Democrat Patricia Chesbro. In 2020, Alaska voters narrowly approved the state’s new voting system after a successful campaign from Murkowski operatives put the plan before residents as Ballot Measure 2.

“While we were working on Ballot Measure 2 and voting for Ballot Measure 2, we had Sen. Murkowski in mind the whole time,” said Emma Ashlock, a Murkowski campaign coordinator, on camera. “Every single Pat Chesbro voter who ranks Senator Murkowski second, we get their votes.”

Shea Siegert, now the communications director for Murkowski’s re-election campaign, was previously the campaign manager for the group pushing Ballot Measure 2.

In the Alaska House race, Peltola won the seat with nearly 52 percent of the final vote to Palin’s 48.


Dark Money Provisions Were a Distraction.

Ballot Measure 2 was sold to Alaskans as an effort to impose greater transparency in state elections by requiring more information to be public about the source of campaign finances. The package eliminated “dark money” from elections, merged the state’s partisan primaries into one contest, and implemented ranked-choice voting for the general all rolled into one.

In an op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News, one of Alaska’s largest newspapers, local activist and Ballot Measure 2 supporter Kiera O’Brien wrote that the proposal would “make three critical reinforcements to our elections infrastructure.” O’Brien highlighted the initiative’s provisions on dark money first, writing, “it would illuminate dark money’s influence by requiring any group that receives over half its funding from outside Alaska to provide a disclaimer on all public communications.”

Dark money, however, continues to flourish in Alaskan politics.

In August, Joel Davidson, the editor-in-chief of the Alaska Watchman, outlined how dark money from left-wing groups is effectively “bankrolling” campaigns to oppose a state constitutional convention, which re-appears on the ballot every 10 years. Davidson highlighted a campaign expenditure report for “No on 1, Defend Our Constitution” showing that the “Sixteen Thirty Fund” donated $500,000 to oppose a re-examination of the state constitution.

As a nonprofit, the group is not required to reveal its donors.

“Aside from Sixteen Thirty Fund, the ‘No on One, Defend Our Constitution’ has been primarily funded by unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers based out of Washington, DC, American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association of Alaska,” Davidson reported. “Each of these groups have donated $50,000. Additionally, the AFL-CIO national union federation has pumped in $50,000 in outside money. Together, these groups have contributed $700,000 of the $821,181 in contributions that No on One has reported thus far.”

Murkowski’s own campaign is funded primarily by outside interests from the lower 48. According to public finance data compiled by OpenSecrets, nearly 85 percent of the senator’s contributions has come from out of state. Only 15 percent came from Alaskan residents in the current cycle. Less than 5 percent of the senator’s financing has come from small-dollar donors. More than 88 percent has come from large individual contributions or political action committees.

Trump-endorsed Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, on the other hand, has raised less than $17,000 from political action committees amounting to less than 1 percent of her financial support while she remains far more reliant on in-state support, according to OpenSecrets.

In other words, Ballot Measure 2’s provisions on dark money were toothless red herrings to convince voters that its primary purpose was to reform campaign finance as opposed to protecting the incumbent.

A Blueprint to Takeover Elections Nationwide.

The ballot system is becoming the go-to measure to reform American elections by left-wing activists who obscure simplicity in the contest. The multiple rounds of tabulation after election day left Alaskan voters in the dark on the winning candidate for weeks until a candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the ballots cast in August.

The system not only robs parties of their ability to nominate the candidates of their choice, but the mechanism adds layers of complexity to an otherwise simple process for conducting elections.

Alaska and Maine are the only two states to use ranked-choice voting for their elections, in addition to nearly two-dozen cities across the country. In November, voters in Nevada will decide whether to adopt the same system, and efforts are underway in Virginia and Arizona to implement similar ranked-choice voting schemes. More campaigns are almost certainly in the pipeline to reform state elections under a ranked-choice system as incumbents such as Murkowski survive true accountability.

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Alaska; US: Maine
KEYWORDS: alaska; elections; murkowski; palin
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1 posted on 09/09/2022 4:20:31 AM PDT by george76
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To: sauropod

Read this

2 posted on 09/09/2022 4:22:37 AM PDT by sauropod (Unbelief has nothing to say. Chance favors the prepared mind.)
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To: george76

the UniParty strikes back

Why every on needs to get involved in the nitty-gritty of their electoral precincts and parties

3 posted on 09/09/2022 4:23:12 AM PDT by mo ("If you understand, no explanation is needed; if you don't understand, no explanation is possible)
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To: george76

Saves a second election, and a write in campaign. But doesn’t necessarily change Murkowskis outcome.

The other path was lose the primary
Run independent
Win the runoff.

4 posted on 09/09/2022 4:32:09 AM PDT by Pikachu_Dad ("the media are selling you a line of soap)
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To: george76

I think it’s been a toss up for a while who the greatest danger to conservatism is:

1. Communist leaning democrats who support sex change operations on children and socialism

2. Neo-cons

5 posted on 09/09/2022 4:33:18 AM PDT by Phoenix8
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To: george76

Palin’s $2M House in Scottsdale when she bailed out Alaska in 2011 probably doomed Palin more.

Utah will blindly take Michigander-Massachusetters to represent them, but Alaskans want Alaskans.

Texas, too. If Ted Cruz bought a house in Florida, he’s never winning another election in Texas.

6 posted on 09/09/2022 4:37:20 AM PDT by UNGN
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To: george76
The GOP is called "the stupid party" for a reason.

7 posted on 09/09/2022 4:40:13 AM PDT by Travis McGee (
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To: george76

Palin knew RCV was what she would be contending with when she ran.

She failed to adapt to the known situation.

Plus she has some high negatives in Alaska.

This comes across as SoreLoserman ‘stuff.

8 posted on 09/09/2022 4:47:55 AM PDT by Fury
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To: Fury

Yep. She needs to drop out to save the seat. We need a republican in November. I’d take an 80 percent voter over a zero percent democrat.

9 posted on 09/09/2022 5:00:07 AM PDT by napscoordinator (Trump/Hunter, jr for President/Vice President 2016 democratic )
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To: Fury

“Plus she has some high negatives in Alaska.”

But she got more votes than any other. The negatives appear not to be TOO high.

10 posted on 09/09/2022 5:05:05 AM PDT by MayflowerMadam (Sometimes when you get to where you're supposed to be, it's too soon.)
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To: napscoordinator

Since Palin received more votes than Begich, shouldn’t he be the one to drop out? His refusal dooms the seat to the Democrat. I understand it’s too late to remove a name from the November er ballot even if he/ she decided to do the right thing to save the seat for the Republicans. Looks to me like Ego got in the way here, plus of course the ridiculous voting system.

11 posted on 09/09/2022 5:12:24 AM PDT by DrHFrog
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To: george76

Ranked choice is being written about here as if party primaries must be eliminated. You could have ranked choice voting within party primaries, then in the general election.

I don’t favor ranked choice under any circumstance, but the most objectionable thing about Alaska is they eliminated their party primaries.

12 posted on 09/09/2022 5:12:26 AM PDT by Will88 (The only people opposing voter ID are those benefiting from voter fraud.)
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To: MayflowerMadam

1st choice is the one that counts in a winner take all. 2nd
is no better that last place as far as being the winner. She

13 posted on 09/09/2022 5:16:06 AM PDT by deport
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To: napscoordinator

Pure Rhino BS !

The Other candidate a Evil Lisa Murkowski GopE puppet needs to drop out .

He caused the Gop voter split on purpose to let a fellow Dem win .

14 posted on 09/09/2022 5:23:19 AM PDT by ncalburt (they Gop DC Globalists are the evil )
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To: Fury
Rhino Mitchy Astroturfer.

Palin Won the Gop vote .

You are peddling the Mitchy Spin .

The Mitchy Puppet LOST but Palin should concede.

That Mitchy Gope logic .

And he split the Gop on Purpose to let a Fellow Dem Win !

The Mitchy Murkowski Puppet loser needs to walk away .

15 posted on 09/09/2022 5:28:49 AM PDT by ncalburt (they Gop DC Globalists are the evil )
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To: mo

I have said this here since I started, if Freepers spent 1/2 the amount of time they spend here bitching and moaning out in their neighborhood spreading the conservative word and insuring the people in the neighborhood vote, we would be in a different place in this country.

90% of the current set of Freepers belong to the Keyboard Secret Strike Force Team 000, when instead they could be conservative leaders in their circle of influence and would probably lose 20 pounds just getting out of their tactical X Chairs walking around the cul de sac.

The country would certainly be in a better place if we could defeat Freeper apathy. I used to think it was laziness but it’s not, what we are experiencing is similar to the battered wife syndrome. If the people here ever organized and got after it, I cannot imagine the influence this site could have.

16 posted on 09/09/2022 5:36:39 AM PDT by bigfootbob (Arm Up and Carry On!)
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To: DrHFrog

Maybe he got paid to stay in.

Dems make their luck.

We all pretend it’s just bad luck again and figure “well, shucks. I guess we’ll have to try harder next time”.

17 posted on 09/09/2022 5:47:42 AM PDT by Sarcazmo ("Sarcasm is the highest form of wit" ~ O. Wilde)
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To: george76
There are potential solutions to ranked voting and jungle primaries.

First, the state GOP pays for its own primary or nominating convention, which chooses one person per race.

Second, trade mark the Republican (and GOP) title, and forbid any other candidates to use that designation in any election.

Stripping disloyal Republicans of the party title would have a meaningful impact on their vote share.

18 posted on 09/09/2022 6:41:45 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: george76

Can’t blame it on the voting preference system. There was no cheating. Palin needs to face the fact that her first preference support support was weak. It might have turned out differently if she had spent the last 4 years working the state and building an organization, rather than jumping in at the last minute and thinking she could be elected based on her popularity with Trump and conservative activists. But if she stays in this for the long haul, as Stacy Abrams does, rather than quitting, as she did when she was governor, she may yet prevail.

19 posted on 09/09/2022 6:51:11 AM PDT by Socon-Econ (adi)
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To: Pikachu_Dad

Its OK, when Alaska is recovered by the Russian Federation they will fit right into the new political system. This is in the treaty of St. Petersburg 2027 after WW III, Hawaii will be made an independent Kingdom, an ally of China, and Japan will surrender Okinawa to Chinese People’s Republic.

20 posted on 09/09/2022 7:10:20 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade ( Ride to the sound of the Guns!)
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