OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola of Alaska has been projected as the winner in Alaska’s at-large congressional district general election. Peltola was elected in an August special election to fill out a term previously held by Republican Rep. Don Young, who tragically passed away earlier this year.
Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House editor at the nonpartisan Cook Report political analysis website, projected that Peltola won in Alaska, beating two Republicans, Nick Begich and Sarah Palin, the former governor, and John McCain vice-presidential nominee in 2008.
Peltola strengthened her lead to more than 48% of first-place votes. Palin is in second with 26% and Begich is in third with nearly 24% of the vote. In fourth was Libertarian Chris Bye with less than 2%.
I've seen enough: Rep. Mary Peltola (D) wins reelection in #AKAL, defeating Sarah Palin (R) and Nick Begich (R).
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 17, 2022
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) November 17, 2022
The results of the race for Alaska’s lone House seat are still being counted thanks to a new “ranked-choice” voting system approved by residents in 2020.
Ranked choice voting — approved by referendum in Alaska in 2020 and first applied in 2022 — removes the standard voting protocol of an individual voter selecting one candidate on a ballot. Instead, voters using ranked choice voting assign a numerical rank to multiple candidates rather than voting for one preferred candidate.
The Daily Wire reported:
Peltola won the special election in August based on receiving more second-place votes despite only reaching 40% of the overall vote total. The special election saw Peltola receive 40%, Palin 31%, and Begich 28% in the first round. Since no single candidate received at least half of the votes, the top two candidates remained, with the second-place votes added from those who chose Begich as their first choice. Peltola then defeated Palin 51.5% to 48.5%.
The report noted that it took two weeks to announce the winner in the August special election, and that is likely to be the case again in the general election. Peltola, a Native American, was sworn into office in early September.
During an interview last month, Palin blasted ranked-choice voting and said it was designed to assist Democrats and weaker GOP candidates like Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is headed to a December run-off election against Trump-backed GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
“This is what’s going to elect Democrats and destroy our country before we even know it,” Palin told Breitbart. “I am just sounding that alarm that it’s this bad.”
“I don’t want this to happen to any other electorate, in any city, in any state,” the former governor said. “Alaska is kind of this test case right now where we have elements of a perfect bad storm. We have lax voter-ID laws. We have a long election cycle where mail-in ballots can be mailed in for — gosh — it seems like months if not many weeks.”
“Those are just a couple of aspects that create kind of this distrust of people in the process, and we cannot afford to have people not trust free and fair elections in our communities, in our states, in our nation, or we’re going to go under,” she added.
“It’s not winner-take-all,” said Palin “You rank the candidates. … Then a process of elimination via an algorithm in a computer takes votes and distributes them to other candidates if the person that you did choose as your number-one pick didn’t end up on top.”
“The ballot question that asked whether we wanted ranked choice voting, it was 26 pages long, the explanation,” she said. “That right there should have told people, ‘Hey, wait.’ Anything that you can’t explain concisely, it’s no good when it comes to government.”
She said that she believed that the ranked-choice voting was designed to keep Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in power.
“This was written for Lisa Murkowski — and she’s a RINO — to keep her in the U.S. Senate because she can’t run and win as a normal Republican in Alaska because people figured her out. It was her attorney who wrote this thing,” she said.