The race for Alaska’s sole House seat has finally been called weeks after the Nov. 8 election.

Thanks to state residents passing “ranked-choice” voting, Alaska’s sole House seat will remain in the hands of Democratic incumbent Rep. Mary Peltola, who defeated two GOP challengers, former Gov. Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, who essentially split the Republican vote.

Together, both Republicans received more of the vote than Peltola, but because of the way ranked-choice balloting works, the Democrat won because she received the most votes overall of the voters’ choices.

The seat had been held by Republican Rep. Don Young since the early 1970s, but it became open after he died earlier this year at the age of 88.


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“The general House election in Alaska uses ranked-choice voting, a system approved by Alaska residents in 2020 that dismissed the state’s previous election method consisting of partisan primary elections ahead of general elections. Under ranked-choice voting, candidates of all parties in the general election appeared on the same ballot,” Fox News explains.

The outlet added:

Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference on their ballots. Should one candidate receive a majority of first-preference votes, that individual is declared the winner in the race. However, if no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. Following the elimination of the candidate who received the least amount of first-preference votes, voters’ second-preference choices are evaluated and a new tally is established to determine whether a candidate in the race has received a majority of the vote. That process is repeated until a candidate wins over 50 % of the vote.

Palin has been a frequent critic of ranked-choice voting, writing in an Anchorage Daily News op-ed last month that the method had “produced the travesty of sending a Democrat to Congress to represent Alaska, one of the reddest states in the country.”


Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.