Fact vs Myth
Myth: “Support for Measure 2 comes primarily from out-of-state interests who don’t understand Alaska.”
FACT: The organization behind Measure 2, Alaskans for Better Elections is a bi-partisan group of Alaskans from across the state. They have come together as Republicans, Democrats, independents, business owners, community leaders and labor voices because they believe that electoral reform will improve our political system and government. All of the members and steering committee are exclusively Alaskan
FACT: Opponents of Measure 2 are running a dark money campaign that is working against transparency and commonsense electoral reform. The groups bankrolling the opposition come from Oklahoma, Minnesota and Maine – not Alaska.
Myth: “RCV eliminates the concept of “one person, one vote.”
FACT: This is totally FALSE. It’s an argument that opponents use repeatedly to try to mislead the public about rank choice voting. RCV provides voters more choice and does nothing to dilute one person, one vote.
FACT: Federal courts have unanimously rejected this claim, including in 2010, 2018 and 2020. In the 2018 case, a federal district court weighed in on the issue opining that “…one person, one vote does not stand in opposition to ranked balloting so long as all electors are treated equally at the ballot.”
FACT: Under RCV, the person who gets the most votes, wins. Majority rule is a foundational principle of fairness in elections.
Myth: “RCV runs counter to the democratic process”
FACT: RCV upholds majority rule by treating every voter equally. Because it requires a candidate to get to 50% + 1 to win, it encourages candidates to reach out to more voters for support.
FACT: Without RCV, several congressional primaries this year were won by candidates with less than 25 percent of the vote.
FACT: RCV allows every voter to have a say in the outcome, and elect winners preferred by the majority of voters.
Myth: “RCV is complicated and hard to explain.”
FACT: The data does not support this conclusion. In fact – three key data points underscore that RCV is easy and intuitive:
- In exit poll data, voters overwhelmingly report that they understand how RCV works.
- In ballot data pulled from locations using RCV, we see that ballot error is comparable to non-RCV races.
- In undervote data (voters skipping the race), we can see that in races conducted using RCV, the rate of undervotes is lower than with other comparable elections.
Myth: “RCV disenfranchises voters – especially minorities.”
FACT: The data does not support this conclusion. In fact, the opposite has been shown to be true:
- Non-white voters tend to rank more candidates.
- Non-white voters are more likely to cast fully-ranked, error-free ballots.
- RCV does not worsen existing inequalities in turnout between racial groups.
- More candidates of color on the ballot: Ranked choice voting is associated with an 8-percentage-point increase in the number of candidates of color running for office.
- More candidates of color winning office: After four California cities switched to RCV, the number of elections won by candidates of color increased by 58%.
Myth: “Voters will be forced to rank every candidate on the ballot – even if they don’t want them to win.”
FACT: This is 100% FALSE. Voters can rank as many or as few candidates as they wish. Ballots with only one candidate ranked are as valid as ballots with four.
FACT: A voter’s ballot will never count for a candidate that the voter chose not to rank. A voter who does not want a particular candidate to earn their vote under any circumstance may simply choose not to rank that candidate.
Myth: “A candidate in a multi-candidate field could be elected even though they were never a majority of voter’s first choice.”
FACT: Your vote will count only for your first choice as long as that candidate remains in the race. Your vote will only be counted for another candidate if your preferred candidate is eliminated.
FACT: Ranking other candidates has no impact on your preferred candidates’ vote share.
FACT: A candidate with little to no first-choice support is likely to be eliminated early no matter how many people indicate that they are their second choice.
FACT: RCV is designed to ELIMINATE candidates with the least 1st choice support.
FACT: The candidate with the lowest number of first-choices cannot possibly win – this is by design and consistent with our long history of holding runoff elections.
FACT: Every single RCV winner has come in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the first round. Being first in the first round is by far the best place to finish.
Myth: “Our current system works just fine.”
FACT: Voter turnout has been steadily declining since the 1960s.
FACT: In primaries – candidates routinely prevail with as little as 38% vote share in Alaska, and much lower in many states.
FACT: Low voter turnout is strongly correlated to electoral competitiveness. When more than 50% of the voting population chooses a different candidate, those are by definition anti-competitive contests.
Myth: “Special interests will run ‘Manchurian’ candidates and game the system.”
FACT: Voters are routinely presented with only two choices forcing them to choose the least bad option.
FACT: In a vote for one election, special interests determine who the front-runners are through their financial contributions, not the voters.
FACT: RCV empowers voters to have a greater voice in our democracy by allowing candidates with popular support to be elevated regardless of party affiliation.
FACT: RCV reduces the influence of special interests by restricting the ability of big money donors to push candidates who have not demonstrated broad popular support.
FACT: The out-of-state organizations opposing Ballot Measure 2 – one of which is run by a DC lobbyist – continue to refuse to disclose their true donors.
Myth: “RCV eliminates voters right to select a party nominee for the general election.”
FACT: In the United States, 33 states currently run elections with an open primary. Another 11 states have open primaries with caveats. Elections, including primaries, are for voters, not political parties or their special interest backers.
FACT: For the first time in the United States, there are almost equal numbers of registered independents as there are Republicans or Democrats. In Alaska, over 60 percent of registered voters choose not to be associated as a Republican or Democrat.
Myth: “Measure 2 would leave many voters who live in jurisdictions dominated by a single party with no preferred candidate on the ballot.”
FACT: This is false. Ballot Measure 2 preserves the petition and write-in process so smaller and minor party candidates have an even better chance of being on the ballot than they otherwise would and without the influence of big money special interests.