Still impressed by Alaska's new election system

It’s been one year since Alaskans used our new election system - nonpartisan open primaries and ranked choice voting - for the first time. What were the results?

• Open primaries opened doors for voters and candidates. All voters could choose from all candidates, regardless of party, and those with the most support from a broad group of voters won. There were more candidates, leading to more competition in both the primary and general elections.

• 99.8% of ballots were filled out correctly. With redistricting challenges, a special election, and a new election system, we had a very complicated election year and Alaskans got it right! When I tell our story to folks Outside and note that only 342 ballots were invalid, they are impressed and inspired.

• Elections didn’t favor one party over another. The three statewide elections saw a conservative Republican, a moderate Republican, and a Democrat win.

• In a break from the past, both houses of the Alaska State Legislature were organized and ready to work on the first day of session. Lawmakers did not spend countless days in expensive, unproductive special sessions.

As political campaigns ramp up, I’m reminded of how important and necessary it is to keep these voter-centric, voter-approved reforms in place. I’m excited to see how open primaries and ranked choice voting continue to shape better elections in Alaska!

Juli Lucky is the executive director for Alaskans for Better Elections.

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