Rank choice and “jungle” primary voting systems came under intense scrutiny from Republicans after Mary Peltola, a Democrat, won a special House election defeating Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, becoming the first Democrat to hold the seat since Nick Begich I.
Alaska’s first federal test of the unusual voting system, which has been gaining traction in states across the country, has been accused of disenfranchising Republicans.
Following the vote, Senator Tom Cotton (4-Ark.) took to social media to accuse “ranked-choice voting” of being a scam “to rig elections.”
He continued his tweet, saying, “60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican, but thanks to a convoluted process and ballot exhaustion—which disenfranchises voters—a Democrat ‘won.'”
Emma Vaughn, Republican National Committee national press secretary said in a statement, that the results from Alaska’s special election “prove what we’ve known all along — ranked-choice voting disenfranchises voters.”
Vaughn then pointed out that “Republican nominees earned nearly 60% of Alaskans’ votes on the ballot,” but because of the voting system, “every single one of those voters lost their voice to choose their representative in Congress.”
Vaughn continued her statements, arguing that “Alaskans deserve an equal and fair process, two things this special election were not.”
The Alaska system begins with voters picking one candidate in a nonpartisan jungle primary. The four top candidates then head to the general election, where a ranking system requires voters to rank their choices.
If all candidates fail to break a 50 percent majority, an automatic runoff commences where ballots for the candidate with the least votes are reallocated to the next choice pick if a voter made one.