Leave well enough alone.
The statewide Nov. 3 election ballot has a couple of ballot measures.
This is about Measure No. 2.
The measure pertains to an act proposing to replace the political party primary with an open primary system and ranked-choice general election, and additional campaign finance disclosures.
To begin with, the measure covers 31 pages in the State of Alaska’s Official Election Pamphlet. Reading the pamphlet isn’t like sitting down with a good book. As a result, not nearly enough voters will. And, voters should be informed and knowledgeable before voting to change Alaska elections.
The measure should have been broken up into two or three separate initiatives. If the authors of the measure weren’t cognizant of that, then the whole measure becomes suspect.
Aside from that, the current primary and general elections process work well, and have for decades. They have resulted in Alaskans’ choices.
Accepting the notion of an open primary essentially means that Republicans could not choose their candidate for the general election. All other candidates, including the Democrats, are on a separate primary ballot. Any party that wishes to choose its candidate, whether Republican, Democrat, Independent or other, should have that opportunity. With this open primary, it’s possible that the Democrats might not even have a candidate on the general election ballot; or the Republicans or any other party that wishes to be represented. This disenfranchises voters.
Ranked-choice voting only complicates a smooth system of voting and calculating votes. Basically, general election voters wouldn’t choose only one candidate; they would choose them all — ranking the candidates by their preference. Whichever candidate received a majority of vote would win. But, if no candidate captured a majority, then the ranked-vote would kick in. The candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated, and their ballots would be counted for their second choice. This would occur until one candidate received a majority.
This presents all kinds of questions. What happens if a ballot has only one candidate chosen? Because the voter didn’t rank candidates, does that ballot not get counted? How much extra time, effort and expense would this confusing approach take? Will the number of voters decline because of the perplexing change?
And is that what is wanted?
We think not. We want Alaskans to feel comfortable and capable of voting, and not become baffled once in the voters’ booth.
Finally, Mark Begich, a Democrat and former U.S. senator, and Sean Parnell, a Republican and former Alaska governor, oppose Measure 2. That two leaders in their respective parties agree on the error in supporting this measure, is a testament to its flaws.
Vote no on Ballot Measure 2.