This page provides resources on ranked choice voting and on the Anchorage election process.
National Ranked Choice Voting Resources
FairVote is our key national partner organization. Founded in 1992 as Citizens for Proportional Representation, this non-profit focuses on all kinds of electoral reforms, including ranked-choice voting, a popular vote for the U.S. presidency, and universal voter registration. It officially rebranded as FairVote in 2004 and has continued to organize at the local, state and national level for electoral reforms and fairer elections. Learn more about FairVote here.
RepresentUs is a national organization that galvanizes local and state action for electoral reform. Founded in 2012, RepresentUS recently gained attention with a viral video featuring board member Jennifer Lawrence, who explains the organization’s strategy for fixing our elections through ranked-choice voting, ending gerrymandering and revolving-door policies, and more transparency for political donations. RepresentUs specializes in using social media to organize activists in support of election reform at the state and local level. Learn more about RepresentUs here.
The Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center is the brain trust of RCV activists everywhere, and if you want to know everything about RCV, this is where to go. Want to read about the history of RCV? Where it’s used today? How to implement it in your local elections? They have answers to all of these questions. Whether you’re an activist who wants to know more, a politician looking to make a change, or an election administrator who has to implement RCV, this is an invaluable resource. Learn more about the Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center here.
Why is ranked choice voting good for Anchorage?
FairVote Anchorage advocates the use of RCV for Anchorage mayoral races, assembly races, and school board races—all of which are city-wide, non-partisan elections. Ranked choice voting would benefit Anchorage’s municipal elections in multiple ways.
The likelihood of a run-off election for municipal seats, such as Mayor or Assembly, is always high in Anchorage, due to a typical slate of multiple candidates. The high threshold of a 45% plurality needed to win is difficult to achieve when 3 or more candidates split the electorate. In fact, as a precaution, the city election clerk has historically scheduled a predetermined run-off date. For instance, the 2018 city-wide General election was scheduled on April 3, 2018, and the ultimately unnecessary runoff election was on the calendar for May 1, 2018.
As recently as 2015, 2009, and 2000, however, expensive run-off elections occurred to achieve the victories of Mayors Berkowitz, Sullivan, and Wuerch, respectively. According to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, a runoff is just about as expensive to run as the original primary, but the turnout is typically less.
With ranked-choice voting (RCV), a multi-candidate election can be calculated to completion via one ballot, one count, and one general election. Otherwise known as “instant run-off,” RCV achieves results that are verifiable and that the public can rely on. The uncertainty, inconvenience, and costs of a run-off, or even the planning of a potential run-off, will no longer constitute a community-wide human impact factor nor a governmental burden.
Anchorage’s non-partisan city-wide elections trend away from strict party loyalty, due to their non-partisan nature. The likelihood of people voting outside their normal party results in unpredictable races that are more issue-based than politically-motivated. Scrambled fidelity to party can result in some surprising results and also affect the ability to receive the 45% plurality.
A dozen other states have successfully used RCV for municipal elections. Municipalities as large as San Francisco (population 844,000) and as small as Teluride, Colorado (population 2,400) have successfully implemented RCV. FairVote Anchorage is currently approaching assembly members to educate them about RCV and to encourage their support for a revised ordinance. The more voices, the better. Please tell your Assembly member that RCV makes sense for Anchorage.