Alaska Supreme Court releases opinion upholding constitutionality of ranked-choice voting

As election day draws near, the Alaska supreme court upholds the constitutionality of ranked choice voting.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 4:51 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In January, the Alaska Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Ballot Measure 2, also referred to as “ranked choice voting”, which was voted into law in 2020.

On Friday, October 21, the court released their opinion on the case, in which they addressed the concerns raised by a lawsuit challenging the new voting system.

The appellants in the suit were Scott A. Kohlhaas, the Alaskan Independence Party, Robert Bird and Kenneth P. Jacobus. Appellees included the State of Alaska, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Alaska Division of Elections, Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer, Elections Director Gail Fenumiai, and the organization Alaskans for Better Elections, which joined on as an Intervenor-Appellee.

Among a host of claims, the lawsuit alleged the new voting law interfered with a political party’s freedom of association by holding an open primary, and allowing candidates to affiliate themselves with a party without that party’s consent.

It also claimed the ballot measure violated the state constitution’s method for electing the governor and lieutenant governor.

The lawsuit went on to assert the new system places a burden on voters’ ability to make a knowledgeable choice, and that the candidate with the greatest number of votes doesn’t win in a ranked-choice election, going against the state’s constitution.

The court found these claims were unsubstantiated, or were outweighed by the proposed benefits of the measure.

The full published opinion can be found here.