Wednesday, June 22, 2022

AK Top Four Special Election Problem With Droped Out Candidate

As of June 21st, the Four Candidates, for the Special Election, for the At-Large Congressional District are: Sarah Palin (R), with 28.6%, Nicholas Begich (R), with 20%, Al Gross (I), with 13.1%, and Mary Peltola (D), with 9.8%.

But, On June 20th, Al Gross (I) announced he was ending his Campaign, leaving the Aug. 16th Special General Election Candidate list in flux. Gross was One of 48 Candidates who filed to Run in the June 11 Special Primary to replace Rep. Don Young (R), who died in March. The Winner of the Aug. 16th Special General Election, will serve until the End of Young’s Term, Jan. 3rd, 2023.

This was the First Top-Four Congressional Primary in U.S. History. In 2020, Alaska Voters passed Ballot Measure 2, establishing a Primary system in which Candidates for State Executive, State Legislative, and Congressional Offices, run in a Single Primary, regardless of Party Affiliation. The Top Four Vote-getters advance to a Ranked-Choice-Voting (RCV) General Election.

In a statement, Gross said, “There are two outstanding Alaska Native women in this race who would both serve our state well, and I encourage my supporters to stay engaged and consider giving their first-place vote to whichever of them best matches their own values. Thank you for your support." His campaign specified that he was referring to Peltola and Tara Sweeney (R), who came in Fifth with 6% of the Vote.

A Representative for the Alaska Division of Elections, said the Agency was looking into whether the Fifth-place finisher, Sweeney, in this case, would move into Fourth and appear on the Special General Election Ballot. The Division of Elections Director, Gail Fenumiai, released a letter Tuesday afternoon stating: “The Law does not allow the fifth-place Finisher to appear on the general election ballot, because this withdrawal occurred less than 64 days before the election, Alaska law does not permit the fifth-place candidate to advance.” Fenumiai also wrote that “any party that disagrees with these decisions should file suit immediately.”

Alaska Statute 15.25.100, a section of the codified version of Ballot Measure 2, describes the process of replacing a general election candidate: “If a candidate nominated at the primary election dies, withdraws, resigns, becomes disqualified from holding office for which the candidate is nominated, or is certified as being incapacitated in the manner prescribed by this section after the primary election and 64 or more days before the general election, the vacancy shall be filled by the director by replacing the withdrawn candidate with the candidate who received the fifth most votes in the primary election.”

The Law does Not mention Special General Elections. The Aug. 16th Special General Election is 55 days from June 22nd.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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