Sarah Palin and Lisa Murkowski are at odds with Alaska’s new voting gimmick

Lisa Murkowski and Sarah Palin represent two opposite wings of the Republican Party. 

Palin is in the conservative MAGA camp, while Murkowski may be the most liberal RINO in the entire U.S. Senate. 

And as their home state experiments with a new voting system, Palin and Murkowski are once again on opposite ends of the fence. 

Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting experiment

This year, Alaska ran a controversial experiment with its elections. 

Thanks in large part to incumbent RINO Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Frontier State implemented Ranked Choice Voting. 

It’s a complicated and convoluted system of voting. 

In the primary, all candidates from all parties run against each other, with the top four vote-getters – regardless of party – moving on to the general election. 

This replaces the party primary system, where voters elect a nominee to represent their party in the general election. 

In Alaska in 2022, Lisa Murkowski would have lost to Trump-endorsed and Alaska GOP-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka in a GOP primary. 

However, due to the RCV rules, both Murkowski and Tshibaka advanced to the general election final four. 

From there, Ranked Choice Voting – otherwise known as RCV – forces voters to rank all the choices on the general election ballot.

If none of the four candidates receive more than 50% of the first-place votes, the last place vote-getter is eliminated. 

That candidate’s second place votes are then awarded to the remaining candidates. 

The process continues – including moving to third place votes if necessary – until one candidate finally gets more than 50%.

Of course, that’s not actually 50%, as voters who supported eliminated candidates have their votes counted multiple times.

The problems with RCV

It flies into the American tradition of “one person, one vote.” 

It also creates dishonest campaign practices, like when all of the gubernatorial candidates ganged up on Republican incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy with coordinated campaign ads meant to take out the popular Governor. 

RCV is also more expensive to run and takes much longer to tabulate. 

In fact, it was 15 days after the election that Alaska finally tabulated its final results for the 2022 Midterms. 

The results are – finally – in

Gov. Dunleavy survived the group attack to easily be re-elected. 

Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka each had more than 40% of the first-place votes. 

The Democrat that made it to the final four, Pat Chesbro, was marked in first place on only 10% of ballots. 

However, more than two-thirds of Chesbro’s supporters marked Murkowski in second place, putting the RINO over the top and giving her another term in the U.S. Senate. 

In a regular election system, Tshibaka would have won the Republican primary and cruised to election over Chesbro. 

Sarah Palin had a very different experience with RCV. 

For the former Vice Presidential candidate, it was a similar experience to the special election for Alaska’s at-large House seat just a few months ago. 

In the RCV special election to fill the seat vacated by the death of GOP Rep. Don Young. 

Despite the GOP candidates receiving nearly 60% of the jungle primary vote, thanks to RCV second-place votes, the red state ended up with Democrat Mary Peltota as its Congresswoman. 

The exact same candidates, Palin, Pelota and moderate Republican Nick Begich ran again in November. 

And the results were the same. 

This time, even with the help of incumbency, the Democrat could only register about 45% of the vote.

The two Republicans in the race outpaced Peltola, but split votes, with Palin scoring more first-place ballots than Begich. 

However, enough Begich supporters marked Peltola in second over Palin to allow the Democrat to retain her seat. 

If RCV wasn’t bad enough, it didn’t help Palin or Tshibaka that Murkowski and Peltola endorsed each other just before election day. 

More than two weeks after election day, thanks to RCV, Alaskans – who voted for Donald Trump by more than 10-points more than Joe Biden in 2020 – have a Democrat Congresswoman and a RINO Senator representing them in Washington, D.C. 

Should Alaska get rid of its Ranked Choice Voting system?