ALASKA BETTER ELECTIONS IMPLEMENTATION

New Election System

In the 2020 General Election, voters approved an initiative to establish a Nonpartisan Top Four Primary Election system and a Ranked Choice Voting General Election system. There will be many changes to how we vote and how elections look. As time goes on, this webpage will be updated to include additional educational tools to help prepare you for voting in both new election systems.

Concept Ballots

You can view sample demonstration ballots. If you have suggestions or questions, please let us know - tiffany.montemayor@alaska.gov. We want voters to be part of the ballot design process.

Special Elections

The June 11 Special Primary Election is a nonpatisan primary. Voters will vote for ONLY ONE candidate.

Ranked Choice Voting will be used in the Special General Election on August 16.

Special Primary Election Information ❯

Ranked Choice Voting FAQ

What is Ranked Choice Voting?
Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. In the 2020 general election,
voters approved an initiative to establish a Ranked Choice Voting general election system.

How does Ranked Choice Voting work?
In each race, voters will rank their choices in order of preference. Votes are counted in rounds.
This is what happens:

Round One:
The Division counts all 1st choices. If a candidate gets 50% + 1 vote in round one, that candidate wins and the counting stops.
If not, counting goes to Round Two.

Round Two (and beyond):
The candidate with the fewest votes gets eliminated. If you voted for that candidate, your vote goes to your next choice
and you still have a say in who wins.
If your first choice candidate was not eliminated, your vote stays with them. Votes are counted again.

This keeps happening in rounds until two candidates are left and the one with the most votes wins.

What happens if I only vote for one candidate?
Your vote is counted in round one and your vote stays with your candidate throughout tabulation.

Is there a benefit of ranking multiple choices?
Yes. By ranking multiple candidates, you can still have a voice in who gets elected even if your top choice does not win.
Ranking multiple candidates ensures your vote will go toward your second. third, fourth, or fifth coice
if your top choice is eliminated, giving you more voice in who wins.

How do I mark my ballot in a Ranked Choice Voting election?
Fill in only one oval per candidate, in each column. You do not have to rank all the candidates.

Your second choice is only counted if your first choice candidate is eliminated.

Correct way to mark a ballot example Instructions: Vote by ranking candidates of your choice.

  • Rank as many or as few candidates as you like
  • Completely fill in no more than one oval for each candidate or column
  • For your 1st choice, fill in the oval in the 1st choice column
  • For your 2nd choice, fill in the oval in the 2nd choice column, and so on
  • If you make a mistake, you can ask for a new ballot

Mistakes To Avoid

If you skip a ranking, your next ranking moves up. Here, if your first choice candidate is eliminated,
your third choice counts as your second choice and your fourth choice would count as your third choice.

Skipped ranking ballot example

If you skip two or more rankings in a row, only the rankings before the skipped rankings will count.
Here, your first choice counts and the fourth choice would not count.

Two skipped rankings example

If you give more than one candidate the same ranking, nothing after those candidates will count.
Here, only your first choice counts.

Multiple candidates with same ranking ballot example

Your vote only counts once, even if you rank a candidate more than once.
When a candidate is eliminated in a round, they are eliminated from all future rounds.

Overvoted ballot example

Do I have to rank all candidates in the general election?
No. You may rank as many or as few candidates as you would like. If you do not want to rank a candidate, leave their row blank.

If I rank four candidates in a race, does that mean I got to vote four times?
No. You only get one vote counted per race. Your vote will only count toward your highest ranked candidate in that race
who has not been eliminated. If your top choice candidate is eliminated, your vote will then count toward your next highest ranked candidate.

What about write-in candidates?
To vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot, write the person’s name on the “Write-in” line, and fill in an oval to rank your choice.
Write-in candidates will only advance if they come in first or a close second in the initial results. Ballot Measure No. 2 did not change the law
for write-in candidates, so the Division issued a regulation at 6 AAC 25.071.

Write-ins will only be counted if the aggregate of all first choice votes cast for all write-ins for the particular office is:

1. The highest number of first choice votes received by any candidate for the office or

2. The second highest and the difference between the total number of first choice votes received by the leading candidate and

the first choice votes received by all the write-in candidates is less than .5 percent. (That percentage is calculated by dividing

the difference by the total number of first choice votes received by the leading candidate and the write-ins.)

If the write-ins do not meet the above requirements, all write-in candidates are defeated. If the write-ins do clear this threshold,
by leading or coming in a close second in the first round, the Division will count the write-ins and treat them as individual
candidates in the ranked choice tabulation.


What happens if there is a tie during one of the tabulation rounds? Which candidate gets to advance?
In the event of a tie between two candidates with the fewest votes in a round, Alaska law says the tie is resolved “by lot”
to determine which candidate is eliminated and which candidate advances to the next round. Believe it or not, “by lot” means
the division’s director will flip a coin or draw straws. The same applies if there is a tie for the last two remaining candidates.

How will I know when and why my candidates were eliminated?
Results reports showing how many votes each candidate had in every round and how votes were transferred when candidates were
eliminated will be available on the Division’s website, in addition to a summary report showing the final votes tallied for the winning candidate.

When and where will the tabulation rounds take place?
Tabulation rounds will begin after the last counting of ballots on the 15th day following election day (November 23, 2022).
This will happen in Juneau at the Director’s Office. Just like past elections, all results are unofficial until the State Review Board
certifies the election and all eligible absentee and questioned votes are counted.

What offices are elected using Ranked Choice Voting?
The bill includes President/Vice President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor/Lieutenant Governor, and all state representatives and state senators.

Will Ranked Choice Voting be used for judges and ballot measures?
No. All judicial retentions and ballot measures will continue to run in the same yes or no fashion as in past elections.

When is the first election the Ranked Choice Voting system will be used?
The August 16, 2022 Special General Election.

Will this information be available in other languages?
Yes. View translated Ranked Choice Voting pages here:

Yukon Yup’ik Hooper Bay Yup’ik Gwich'in NORTON SOUND KOTLIK YUP’IK
Bristol Bay Yup’ik CHEVAK CUP'IK General Central Yup’ik Spanish

Nonpartisan Top Four Primary Election FAQ

What is a Nonpartisan Top Four primary election?
There will be only one ballot, with all candidates regardless of political party or political group affiliation. Voters may cast a vote for one candidate in each race, regardless of voter’s political affiliation.
Only four candidates in each race who receive the most votes will advance to the general election. The primary election no longer determines the nominee of a political party or group.

What happens when there are less than four candidates in a race?
All candidates for that race will move onto the general election.

When is the first/next election the Nonpartisan Top Four primary election system will be used?
The August 16, 2022 primary election.

Will my registered political affiliation affect who I can vote for?
No. All candidates will be on the same ballot and all voters may vote for anyone regardless of registration affiliation.

New Primary Election - Explained

Who can run in the primary election?
Any registered voter who meets the requirements of AS 15.25.030(a) and seeks to become a candidate in the primary election can file a declaration of candidacy. Primary candidates do not need to be a member of a political party or political group.

What happens if a potential candidate misses the filing deadline?
They cannot participate in the primary election but can file paperwork to run as a write-in candidate on the general election ballot.

Can a candidate with no party affiliation still run in the general election by petition?
No. Under the new law, the nominating petition process no longer allows for candidates to run in the general election using the nominating petition process. If a candidate did not appear on the primary election ballot or was not successful in advancing to the general election, they may run as an official write-in candidate as long as they file a letter of intent at least 5 days prior to the general election.

Is there a limit as to how many candidates can file for the primary election?
No.

Will there still be a ballot measures only ballot in the primary?
No. With a Nonpartisan primary, there is no need for a ballot measures only ballot.