Alaska ranked choice voting: Murkowski, Peltola and Dunleavy set to win

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Ranked Choice Vote Count from the Alaska Division of Elections headquarters in Juneau results were released Wednesday evening.

    In 2020, Alaska voters approved a switch to a ranked-choice voting system. Under the new system, Alaska holds open primaries, and voters cast ballots for one candidate of any party, and the top four finishers advance. In the general election, voters rank those four candidates, from their first choice to their fourth choice.

    If no candidate tops 50% of the first-choice votes, the state then tabulates ranked-choice results, dropping the last-place finisher and shifting those votes to voters' second choices. If, after one round of tabulation, there's still no winner, the third-place finisher is dropped and the same vote-shifting process takes place.

    These results announced Wednesday are still considered unofficial because the State Review Board is going through its certification process and it's not complete at this time. It's set to be complete by November 29th.

    In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski remained in the lead, winning the race against her main challenger, Republican Kelly Tshibaka. Murkowski's unofficial results are 135,972 votes. Tshibaka's unofficial results are 117,299 votes.

    Eliminated in round 1 was Republican Buzz Kelley with a total of 8,540 votes.

    893 of Kelley's votes went to Democrat Patricia Chesbro, 1,629 went to Murkowski, and 3,204 went to Tshibaka. There were 2,797 exhausted ballots which means there were no longer valid marks or candidates for that specific race.

    Eliminated in round 2 was Chesbro with a total of 28,185 votes.

    20,543 votes were transferred to Murkowski.

    2,209 votes were transferred to Tshibaka, with the rest being exhausted ballots.

    In the race for U.S. Representative, incumbent Democrat Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola is in the lead with a total of 136,893 votes. Palin came out after ranked choice voting with 112,255.

    Peltola had gained 1,030 votes from round one of ranked-choice voting when Libertarian Chris Bye was eliminated, and another 7,460 votes in round two when Republican Nick Begich was eliminated.

    Republican Sarah Palin gained 1,064 votes by Chris Bye being eliminated.

    Begich was eliminated in round two, with 43,013 votes to Palin.

    13,864 of the remaining votes were exhausted.

    In the race for Alaska State Governor, incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy had a margin large enough that ranked choice sorting did not take place Wednesday.

    On Saturday, November 19th, with 264,994 votes counted, Dunleavy had 50.3% of the vote for governor, well above his leading challenger, Democratic candidate Les Gara, who had 24.2%. Independent candidate Bill Walker with 20.7% and Republican challenger Charlie Pierce had 4.5%.

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