CBJ’s October, 2023 Assembly Election
Juneau’s 2023 Municipal Election was a great reminder that Ranked Choice Voting is the right way to conduct elections. Why? After years of trying to find people to run for Assembly, this year there were 10 candidates for two seats. Hot topic local issues and a contentious ballot initiative brought out a full field of people running for office.
The total of number of ballots cast (9,435) saw the top candidate receive 3,393 votes (~36%) followed by second place at 2,940 (~31%). Third place was close at 30% with fourth and fifth place finishers tied at 26% of the vote. So 64% of voters in this election selected someone other than the top candidates.
How would this have been different under Ranked Choice?
While it is hard to predict who would have voted for a second, third, or fourth place, it is possible that the results would have changed. As the number of ballots cast to the lower placed candidates were distributed to the finishers, a total of 3,148 votes might have changed the results. This could explain why the ballot initiative failed although the candidates elected where those that supported it.
With more independent candidates running, Ranked Choice voting is the only way for people to have a say in selecting their leaders. Whether you are happy or sad with the outcomes from this election, Ranked Choice would give you more say. If your first choice doesn’t make it, your second or third choices just might.
The League’s PositionWhile the League of Women Voters of the United States doesn’t have an official stand on Ranked Choice Voting, nine (9) states and 2 local leagues have positions in support of RCV. In addition, the states of Alaska and Maine have already implemented RCV, and those Leagues are fully supportive as well. A quick internet search shows over 50 separate LWV locations across the country, coast to coast who are discussing, researching, and/or promoting Ranked Choice Voting.
Read more about Ranked Choice Voting: FairVote.org Alaskans for better elections Alaska Division of ElectionsWritten by: Judith Mitchell, Juneau league member