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Which Alaska Seafood Will Win? A Lesson in Voting

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Alaskan seafood is on the ballot. The Alaska Division of Elections is asking voters to participate in a mock election to learn more about Ranked Choice Voting.

The mock ballot lists 18 “candidates” of Alaska seafoods, and you can only vote for one. The Division of Elections set up the pretend contest to help voters understand what will happen in the primary and general elections next year.

Division Director, Gail Fenumiai, says voters need a better understanding of the new Ranked-Choice Voting system before implementing it in 2022.

“It is going to be a challenge, but I think once voters read up on it, and practice a little bit, they’ll understand how it works.”

To get that practice for voters, the Division collaborated with RankedVote, an online app, to develop an interactive, multilingual education tool that mimics Alaska’s new ballots.

The mock election will be in two stages, first the primary, which runs online for two weeks. Voters click on a link that brings up a list including Shrimp, Halibut, King Crab and 15 others. Oh, and by the way, there are no vegetable options, guess they decided not to run.

Fenumiai says having a lot of choices on a primary ballot might happen in reality.

“It’s a long list of “candidates” and you pick your favorite, in the primary, and at the end of the two-week voting period, the top four Alaska seafood vote-getters will advance to the general election.”

The next stage, the mock general election, will be in a few weeks and Alaskans will be able to rank the top four seafoods.

“At the end of June 15th, we will shut it down, and we will announce the top four, and we will advance those to a ranked-choice voting General.”

The interactive tool lets you cheat a bit in that it shows you the results so far. That will NOT happen in an election of humans.

Next August, Alaskans will vote in a primary election that is open to all comers; there won’t be separate ballots for different parties. But voters won’t rank candidates until November.

“You only get to pick one. In the primary election you only get to vote for one candidate in each race. And then, after the primary is certified, the top four vote-getters for each race will advance to the general election ballot. And the general election is actually when you get your ballot you will rank your candidates in order of preference.”

The Division of Elections has a whole page on how Ranked-Choice Voting works.

To participate in the mock election, go to the Division’s website: https://www.elections.alaska.gov/, then click on “Learn more about Ranked-Choice voting.” The link to the mock seafood election is in the press release posted at the top of the page. We will also post it on our website.

The mock election can be found at:

https://app.rankedvote.co/elections/6646/Best-Seafood-in-Alaska---Top-Four-Primary/6632/vote

Voters have until 5 p.m. on June 15th to pick their favorite seafood.