Though much progress had been made in recent years with RCV/IRV, it's always a struggle to keep your gains:

Campaign buttons urging Alaskans to repeal ranked choice voting in Alaska sit on a picnic table at the home of Phil Izon, a backer of the initiative, in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 14, 2014 Arguments are scheduled May 28, 2024, in a lawsuit challenging the state Division of Election's decision to certify the initiative for placement on the ballot this year. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Alaska’s new election system — with open primaries and ranked voting — has been a model for those in other states who are frustrated by political polarization and a sense that voters lack real choice at the ballot box.

Used for the first time in 2022, the changes helped propel the first Alaska Native to a seat in Congress. They could be short-lived.

Opponents of ranked voting want to repeal it and are entangled in a legal fight over whether their initiative will be able to remain on Alaska’s November ballot. It’s just one example this year of an intensifying fight over a more expansive way for voters to choose candidates, driven in part by deep dissatisfaction with the status quo and opposition from political parties and partisan groups that fear losing power.

Voters in at least two states — Democratic-leaning Oregon and Nevada — will decide this fall whether to institute new election processes that include ranked voting. In deeply conservative Idaho, groups are pushing for a November ballot initiative that would overturn a ban on ranked voting passed last year by the Republican-led legislature. Measures proposing ranked voting, also referred to as ranked-choice voting, also are being pursued in Colorado and the District of Columbia.

In Missouri, a measure advanced by the GOP-controlled legislature will ask voters in November whether to ban ranked voting. This follows an unsuccessful citizen attempt in 2022 to get an Alaska-style system before voters. At least nine states have banned ranked voting, and the Louisiana legislature also passed a ban this past week.

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Robert Prather

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Ranked-choice voting advocate (proportional representation, too).