Letters to the Editor

Letter: Ranked-choice voting is good for Alaska

It has been reported that some leaders in the Democratic and Republican parties are opposed to the ranked-choice voting provision in Ballot Measure 2 because it dilutes the power of political parties. I’m for that! The strong, duopolistic party system we have today is not the republican system of constitutional government our national founders envisioned. The two big parties have become dominant, powerful, vested interests, financed with big money in pursuit of their own institutional power. They are more interested in scoring points against the other “team” than in listening to the voices of all citizens and engaging in deliberation and collaboration to figure out which policies best serve our larger community.

Ranked-choice voting will provide an open platform for independent and small party candidates, enriching the dialog and allowing voters to vote their true preferences, without “throwing away” their vote before the final contest between the front-runners. In the final tally, the winning candidate will always be elected by a clear majority. That’s the way it should be in representative government. No more “spoilers” or minority-chosen representatives. It will also provide incentives for the candidates to appeal to all voters, not just their own base, because in the end they know they will need to be the second-choice candidate for some voters to win a majority.

Campaigns will be more civil, because candidates know that they can’t afford to alienate voters whose first choice was someone else. The civic dialog will be more pluralistic, with a wider range of ideas under consideration. We can each caucus with our like-minded allies without pressure from the big party bosses to conform to their particular party line. RCV can also save the state money: We won’t need to pay for a primary election that only serves the institutional interests of the big parties anyway.

Ranked-choice voting has been consistently popular in Maine and the 20 American cities where it has been implemented. It will be good for Alaska, too.

Sharman Haley

Anchorage

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