Alaska judge upholds as valid new elections process

Fairbanks Evening News Olympics Edition for 07/31/2021.
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 7:08 PM AKDT
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A state court judge has upheld as valid a new voting process set to be in effect for next year’s elections in Alaska.

Superior Court Judge Gregory Miller, in a ruling Thursday, said Alaska “has the legal right to continue using the old system or to adopt a new system; that the voters in November 2020 chose one system over the other does not make the new law facially unconstitutional.”

Voters approved a system that would end party primaries and institute ranked-choice voting for general elections. The top four voter-getters in primary races, regardless of party, advance to the general.

Attorney Kenneth P. Jacobus, who was among the plaintiffs and argued the case, told the Anchorage Daily News he needed to talk with the other plaintiffs before deciding whether to appeal.

The case was filed last year by Scott Kohlhaas, who unsuccessfully ran for state House as a Libertarian; Bob Bird, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party; Bird’s party; and Jacobus.

Attorneys for the state argued in defense of the new system.

Scott Kendall, an attorney for the group behind the initiative, called Miller’s decision “a big victory for Alaska’s voters and a big step toward holding our first election under the new system Alaskans have chosen.”

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