For Release: November 22, 2022
ANCHORAGE, AK—The results from Alaska’s first ranked choice election are set to be announced at 4:00 PM AST, on Wednesday, November 23 (8:00 PM EST). By now, though, Alaska’s Division of Elections has counted a sufficient number of first-round ballots to give observers a good idea of likely winners.
Preliminary analysis by Sightline Insitute senior researcher and Alaska lead Jeannette Lee shows the pairing of a top-four open primary with ranked choice voting poised to yield a group of winning candidates that, collectively, reflects the independence of Alaska’s electorate. The system has already delivered in other ways: checking extremist candidates; being easy for voters to understand; curbing the power of political parties and hyperpartisan primary voters; and ensuring no candidate can win without a majority in the final round.
The anticipated election results include:
- US Senator Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Republican, is poised to retake her seat.
- US Representative Mary Peltola, a moderate Democrat, will likely win a full term as Alaska’s lone representative in the House.
- Governor Mike Dunleavy, a populist conservative Republican, is all but sure to win his second term as governor.
- And the Alaska legislature may see bipartisan majority coalitions running both chambers.
“I’m hopeful that a state like Alaska, with so many Independent voters, can show the larger American electorate what open primaries and ranked choice voting can deliver: a more representative, moderate group of elected officials who serve the public through collaboration on voters’ real priorities—who can shift American democracy from feuding to functional,” said Lee, who has been researching and publishing on the new election system.
Sightline will publish original analysis of the Alaska election results on the evening of Wednesday, November 23. See Lee’s analysis of Alaska’s new system of open primaries and ranked choice general elections, including:
- Findings that the system delivered a larger, more diverse, and more competitive candidate pool for voters to choose from;
- A comparison of the differing fates of Liz Cheney and Lisa Murkowski, thanks to their states’ respective primary systems; and
- How Peltola’s special election win presaged these midterm results, showing voters’ preferences beyond party lines.
- For background, see Sightline’s guide to Alaska’s 2022 ranked choice general election.
Jeannette Lee, Sightline Institute’s senior researcher and Alaska lead, focuses on democracy and housing issues from Sightline’s office in Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to Sightline, she served as a consultant at the Adaptation Fund and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a federal natural gas researcher, and a journalist for The Associated Press in Alaska and Hawai`i and Atlantic Media Company in Washington, DC. Find her research here.
Sightline Institute is an independent, nonprofit think tank providing leading original analysis of housing, democracy, and energy policy in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, British Columbia, and beyond.