Mary Peltola (D), who won the special election for Alaska’s single House seat on Tuesday, has backed Alaska’s newly implemented ranked choice voting system in the midst of criticism from some members of The Republican Party.
“Ranked choice voting is still new to a lot of people. And change is hard, and it doesn’t come easy. But I think that, in this regard, change is certainly good and worth the growing pains,” Peltola said during a telephone interview with the Hill, which took place less than 24 hours after her win.
She added, “I do think — I have a lot of faith in ranked choice voting. Eighty-five percent of the time, the person with the most votes is the person who ends up with the seat.”
Ranked-choice voting was put in place in Alaska in 2020. The goal of the system is to ensure that any winning candidates hold the majority of the support.
Voters will rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives more than 50% of first-place votes after the first round of votes, then they will be declared as winners, however if there is no majority winner, then the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated.
Peltola will now complete the term of the late Rep. Don Young’s (R). Peltola defeated both Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and Nick Begich III to become the first native Alaskan and Democrat to represent Alaska in the house.
All three candidates will face off again in the November general election for the right to serve a full term in Alaska’s House of Representatives.
Palin issued a statement on her campaign website “Sarah for Alaska,” saying: “Ranked-choice voting was sold as the way to make elections better reflect the will of the people. As Alaska – and America – now sees, the exact opposite is true. The people of Alaska do not want the destructive democrat agenda to rule our land and our lives, but that’s what resulted from someone’s experiment with this new crazy, convoluted, confusing ranked-choice voting system. It’s effectively disenfranchised 60% of Alaska voters.”
“Though we’re disappointed in this outcome, Alaskans know I’m the last one who’ll ever retreat. Instead, I’m going to reload. With optimism that Alaskans learn from this voting system mistake and correct it in the next election, let’s work even harder to send an America First conservative to Washington in November. It’s the only way to clean up the mess that Joe Biden and the radical democrats have made of things,” Palin’s statement read.
It continued, “I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to run for office in my home state, the greatest state in the Union, and I thank every supporter for joining me in this endeavor. I hope you feel as blessed as my kids and I do… and also as fired-up to right the wrongs that are being done to our United States of America.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DESERET.COM
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