Alaskans approved a ballot measure aimed at reducing polarization in politics and encouraging greater cooperation among lawmakers by reforming the state’s election system.
Over 170,000 Alaskans voted “yes” on Ballot Measure 2, which reforms the state’s elections by tightening campaign finance disclosure requirements, creating a unified primary open to all voters, and allowing voters to rank candidates in general elections. Taken together, these practical election reforms will increase competition, participation and accountability in our government.
“This is a victory for all Alaskans regardless of their political leaning. We now have an electoral system that lives up to Alaska’s independent streak by saying ‘to hell with politics let’s do what is right for Alaska’.” said Shea Siegert, campaign manager of Yes on 2 for Better Elections.
Ballot Measure 2’s passage means voters will have more voice, more choice, and more power in our elections and a greater ability to address the partisan gridlock that has kept fiscal and other policy solutions out of reach for decades.
“Whether they supported Ballot Measure 2 or not, all Alaskans should be proud today. This is what ‘We the people’ means – that voters, not the parties, have the power to chart our state’s future,” said Scott Kendall, counsel for the Yes on 2 campaign. “These reforms will make our politicians answerable to the voters. They will also reward, rather than punish, bipartisanship. The nation’s greatest state now has the nation’s best election system, and as a result Alaska’s brightest days lie ahead.”
During possibly the most partisan election in United States history, this measure earned support from across the political spectrum, with an unprecedented alliance of Republicans, Democrats, small party members, and nonpartisan voters all casting “yes” votes.
“These reforms are not just good for voters – they are also good for elected officials who are tired of the constant partisan bickering that dominates their lives,” Kendall said. “Now elected officials can focus on finding common ground around viable solutions. There are not only Republican or Democratic solutions to our problems, there are Alaskan solutions.”
The reforms take effect before the 2022 elections, allowing ample time for the Division of Elections to update voter materials and conduct a public education campaign on the new system. The changes apply to state legislative, gubernatorial, and federal races.
“The support for Ballot Measure 2 comes from all corners of the State. From Southeast to the North Slope, Alaskans sent a clear message today that citizen-driven election reform is vital to the health of our democracy,” Siegert said. “Today’s win is just the start. We will continue to work with our fellow Alaskans to ensure these reforms are seen for what they are – nonpartisan and practical. Now the real work begins.”