Politics

Election audit confirms win for Ballot Measure 2 and Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system

Alaska’s new election system was more than 99% accurate in counting the votes for Ballot Measure 2, according to a hand audit ordered by Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer.

Election workers hand-counting each of the 361,400 ballots cast in this year’s election came up with a total only 24 votes that were different from the results certified by the Alaska Division of Elections. The measure passed by a 50.6-49.4 margin, according to the final tally.

“This audit showed what the division knew it would; that our equipment worked properly, and the 2020 general election was administered accurately and fairly in the state of Alaska,” said Gail Fenumiai, director of the Division of Elections, in a prepared statement.

Meyer had ordered an audit to reassure Alaskans that the state’s voting equipment, which used Dominion Voting Systems, functioned accurately. The division awarded a $4.4 million contract to Dominion in August 2019.

Republicans — mostly in other states, but also in Alaska — have spread a conspiracy theory that Dominion machines were programmed to rig the election. That was disproved in Georgia, where a hand count confirmed that President-elect Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump.

In Alaska, many absentee and early votes were not counted until well after Election Day, and as they were counted, the tally flipped in favor of Ballot Measure 2.

Meyer said he found no fraud but ordered an audit to reassure doubters.

“I thank our elections officials and volunteers for conducting a thorough audit of the Ballot Measure 2 and assuring Alaskans that our elections were conducted fairly,” Meyer said in a prepared statement.

Ballot Measure 2 will become law in February and would have its first effects in the 2022 election, unless a special election is required beforehand or the measure is stopped by a legal challenge. The Alaskan Independence Party, its chairman and two Anchorage residents have already sued to block the measure.

Unless that lawsuit succeeds, the measure will place all the candidates for a particular statewide office into one primary election. The top four vote-getters from that election will advance to the general election. In the general election, voters can pick one candidate or can rank their preferred choices from one through four.

The measure will also impose new disclosure requirements for some campaign contributions in particular races.

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