You have permission to edit this article.
Letter to the Editor

The ease of ranked choice voting

  • Comments

To the editor: It is apparent from the Community Perspective article by Lance Roberts in the April 14 paper that he does not care for ranked choice voting, which was approved by Alaska voters last November. To me, ranked choice voting provides the surest way of aligning the election outcome with voter sentiment. To understand why, consider a three-way race for a seat on the Borough Assembly that includes two conservative candidates and one liberal candidate. Let the liberal get 40% of the votes and the two conservatives split the rest at 35% and 25% of the vote. Clearly, the sentiment of the electorate is conservative at 60% of the total vote. But, under the old rules, the liberal would be elected to the seat.

Now consider what would happen under ranked choice rules. The liberal voter, who doesn’t want either conservative candidate, would only fill in the first choice oval by the liberal candidate and leave the ovals by the second and third choices blank. The conservative voter fills in the first choice oval by one conservative candidate and the second choice oval by the second one. 

If the conservative voter’s first choice does not get a majority of first choice votes, then that vote would be transferred to the voter’s second choice. After the transfers, one of the conservative candidates would wind up with 60% of the votes. The tally of the number of votes each candidate receives would be tracked by computer at the election office. If a majority of voters vote conservative, the election of a conservative is guaranteed.

Lance Robert is trying to fool you into thinking ranked choice is more complicated than it really is.



The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at Contact the editor with questions at or call 459-7574.

Community Perspective

Send Community Perspective submissions by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707) or via email ( Submissions must be 500 to 750 words. Columns are welcome on a wide range of issues and should be well-written and well-researched with attribution of sources. Include a full name, email address, daytime telephone number and headshot photograph suitable for publication (email jpg or tiff files at 150 dpi.) You may also schedule a photo to be taken at the News-Miner office. The News-Miner reserves the right to edit submissions or to reject those of poor quality or taste without consulting the writer.

Letters to the editor

Send letters to the editor by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707), by fax (907-452-7917) or via email ( Writers are limited to one letter every two weeks (14 days.) All letters must contain no more than 350 words and include a full name (no abbreviation), daytime and evening phone numbers and physical address. (If no phone, then provide a mailing address or email address.) The Daily News-Miner reserves the right to edit or reject letters without consulting the writer.

Submit your news & photos

Let us know what you're seeing and hearing around the community.