Anti-ranked choice voting initiative clears first hurdle on way to November ballot

sign posted on green grass says "sign here" and says ranked choice voting "get rid of it"
Supporters of a petition to repeal ranked choice voting collected signatures at the Alaska State Fair on Labor Day 2023 (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

A ballot measure to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting and return to a partisan primary has cleared an initial review.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom, who heads the Alaska Division of Elections, announced Tuesday that sponsors of the anti-ranked choice initiative gathered nearly 37,000 signatures — about 10,000 more than necessary. She said the state is still in the process of verifying all the signatures.

Phillip Izon, director of the group sponsoring the repeal, said he doesn’t expect they’ll have any trouble meeting the threshold.

“We did a lot of work on validation, verification. Spent many months on it. So we feel very confident,” he said.

The signatures come from 34 of Alaska’s 40 voting districts – four more than the law requires. 

Alaskans for Better Elections is defending the new voting system and campaigning against repeal. Its director, Juli Lucky, said her group heard of anomalies in the signature-gathering process, so they plan to examine the petitions once they’re made public.

“Just kind of auditing the signatures and checking the validity — I think that that will be the next step,” she said.

A second ballot initiative also cleared the initial signature hurdle. It aims to raise the state minimum wage and provide workers with sick leave. Organizers of that effort collected 34,000 signatures from 36 districts.

If the sponsors met the requirements, both measures will be on the ballot in November.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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