Ranked-Choice Voting Is ‘Spreading Like Poison,’ Alaskans for Honest Elections Founder Says
The founder of Alaskans for Honest Elections is speaking out against ranked-choice voting, which he says is “spreading like poison.”
“Ranked-choice voting is a whole way that certain people want to redefine how we vote. It’s no longer one person, one vote. It’s a very complicated system where everybody’s thrown into a jungle primary,” Art Mathias, president and founder of Wellsprings Ministry in Anchorage, Alaska, tells The Daily Signal.
“Our House race to replace [Rep.] Don Young was 48 people trying to make it through that to become the top four. Then the top four go through a campaign to a runoff. So, if you’re not extremely well-known, if you don’t have a lot of money, you’re not going to go any place in the race,” Mathias says.
Young, a Republican who held Alaska’s sole at-large House seat from 1973 until 2022, was the longest-serving Republican in congressional history. He died a year ago this week on March 18, 2022. The ranked-choice election for the seat was won by a Democrat, Mary Peltola.
So, you end up with somebody that had only 10% in the primary actually winning at the other end. It’s very complicated. People don’t like it. Very expensive. It discourages voter turnout. It’s not a good deal and it’s spreading like poison.
Mathias joins today’s episode of “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the importance of election integrity, how big the movement around ranked-choice voting is, and what’s at stake if Alaska continues to use ranked-choice voting.
Listen to the podcast below:
Samantha Aschieris: Joining today’s show is Art Mathias. He is the president and founder of Wellsprings Ministry in Anchorage, Alaska. He’s also been one of the leading voices against ranked-choice voting in Alaska. Art, thanks so much for joining me.
Art Mathias: Thank you, Samantha, for having us.
Aschieris: Of course. Now, you’re part of Alaskans for Honest Elections. Before we get too far into our interview, can you briefly remind our audience what ranked-choice voting is?
Mathias: Well, that’s a big topic. Ranked-choice voting is a whole way that certain people want to redefine how we vote. It’s no longer one person, one vote. It’s a very complicated system where everybody’s thrown into a jungle primary. Our House race to replace Don Young was 48 people trying to make it through that to become the top four. Then the top four go through a campaign to a runoff. So if you’re not extremely well-known, if you don’t have a lot of money, you’re not going to go any place in the race.
Then there’s a very complicated counting system. You got to vote for four people. Then they drop the fourth one off, they drop the third one off, until supposedly somebody gets 50%. But every time they drop somebody off, they drop out votes. They’re disqualified or distinguished. Exhausted, I think, is the word they used. In the House race, 17,000 people, 6.5%, were dropped off.
Mathias: So you end up with somebody that had only 10% in the primary actually winning at the other end. It’s very complicated. People don’t like it. Very expensive. It discourages voter turnout. It’s not a good deal and it’s spreading like poison.
Aschieris: I wanted to also just talk about how recent this idea, this voting concept of ranked-choice voting is in Alaska. It started, I believe, just about three years ago, 2020. First used last year in 2022. What happened in Alaska?
Mathias: What happened in Alaska is a group of woke corporations, [George] Soros-type corporations, came to Alaska, spent $7 million telling us how good ranked choice was. They presented it as a way to control dark money. Well, it was dark money telling us they’re going to control themselves. It didn’t work. We had more dark money ever. Most of us didn’t understand because that’s how it was promoted. It only won by about 1%.
So we don’t want it. We are going to repeal it through another ballot measure that I am doing through alaskansforhonestelections.com. There’s our website.
Aschieris: Perfect. I was going to ask you about that, so I’m glad you told that to our listeners—
Mathias: You bet.
Aschieris: … so they can check it out. How big is this movement around ranked-choice voting? What other states have adopted similar?
Mathias: Well, the only other state is Massachusetts. It’s another small state. We’re cheap dates because we only have 700,000 people in Alaska, so it’s easy for these corporations to come in and experiment on us. Frankly, we don’t like it. We’re tired of it.
In Alaska, there’s a huge groundswell. We’ve gathered half our signatures in two weeks. We have spontaneous groups coming together all over the state, forming signing parties. I’ve never seen a movement like this ever. I’ve never seen the anger. We’ve been deceived. We’ve been sold a bill of goods, and Alaskans are angry.
We will not have any challenge getting this on the ballot. Our biggest challenge is defending it on the ballot because the other side are rich. They’ve got unlimited amounts of money. They spent $7 million two years ago. They spent a million in the last six weeks defending it. They’re going to spend $15 million to get their vote out. We’ve got to raise $15 million to compete.
Aschieris: What’s at stake if this isn’t reversed? What’s at stake if Alaska continues to use choice-ranked voting?
Mathias: The stakes are incredibly high. Bottom line is people with money can buy an election. They can buy candidates because it’s just a name ID race. It’s got nothing to do with qualifications. The person that won the House seat this year, her ads were all about how many guns she had and how many fish she caught. There’s no substance to it. The debate of ideas is taken away. It’s just fluff and money.
For the corporations’ pushiness, it’s an investment because they get paid back many, many, many times over by controlling our government. It’s a great investment for them. That’s why they’re doing it. Money and power. That’s all they care about. They don’t care about people or Alaska or the United States. They just want money and power. Our message is to the people that love our country, we’ve got to come together or we’re going to lose it.
Aschieris: One of the seven policy priorities here at Heritage is election integrity.
Aschieris: Could you speak more broadly about the need to have safe and secure elections?
Mathias: Well, that’s our basis of our country. If our elections aren’t safe and secure, if people feel that the vote is not going to be counted, then they’re not going to go vote. That’s what happened in our general this year. We had the lowest turnout ever since we’ve been a state. It was down 20% in all demographics. Republicans, Democrats, independents, all groups of people were down 20%.
This type of voting, this ranked choice, destroys the incentive to vote because, in the House race for an example, 17,000 votes were exhausted. How do you know your vote was counted? I don’t know if my vote was counted. I could have made a mistake on the ballot. It’s very complicated to fill out four lines, put these dots all in the right place. If I got a dot in the wrong place, my vote’s thrown out. It’s not counted. If I didn’t vote, if I only voted for one candidate, my vote was counted once while others had their vote counted two or three times.
Mathias: This destroys our security of an honest, fair election, so people don’t vote. Our voter turnout in a general election was only 44%. This is the poster child for that. Create election integrity groups to fight what ranked choice is.
Aschieris: Well, Art, thank you so much for joining us. Just before we go, I wanted to give you the opportunity to have the final thought for our conversation.
Mathias: Thank you, Samantha. Well, the final thought is to everybody in America. Alaska is the epicenter. We’re the ones that are repealing this. If we repeal it in Alaska, it’s going to stop it in the country. So we need help. We can’t fight all those rich corporations that have unlimited money. If you want to save our country, if you want to save our nation, save Alaska. Also, we have to repeal this. So please go to our website, alaskansforhonestelections.com. Give us some money. Help us in any way you can. We cannot do this by ourselves. Thank you.
Aschieris: Yes. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Mathias: You bet. Thank you.
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