Some Republicans are denouncing ranked-choice voting after a Democrat won Alaska's only U.S. House seat by edging two GOP candidates, including former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Mary Peltola on Wednesday won a special election for Alaska's House seat by defeating former Gov. Palin and Nick Begich, grandson of the last Democrat to hold the seat.
After Peltola's victory, Palin called the ranked-choice voting system "crazy, convoluted, confusing."
Other Republicans agreed.
"Ranked-choice voting is a scam to rig elections," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted Wednesday night. "60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican, but thanks to a convoluted process and ballot exhaustion — which disenfranchises voters — a Democrat 'won.'"
"Ranked-choice voting is too ... complicated, advantaging the Party of Government — Leftists and Democrats who spend their days scheming about how to increase the odds of their candidates' winning elections, while Republicans try to tend to business and jobs outside politics," tweeted Nan Hayworth, a former Republican representative from New York.
Former President Donald Trump bashed ranked-choice voting at a rally in Anchorage, Alaska, in July.
"You never know who won in ranked choice. You could be in third place and they announce that you won the election. It's a total rigged deal. Just like a lot of other things in this country," Trump said.
"The biggest lesson as we move into the 2022 General Election is that ranked choice voting showed that a vote for Sarah Palin is a vote for Mary Peltola," Begich, a likely candidate to face Peltola in the November, said in an election night statement. "Palin simply doesn't have enough support from Alaskans to win an election."
Under ranked voting, a candidate can win outright with more than 50% of the vote in the first round. If no one hits that threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose that candidate as their top pick have their votes count for their next choice. Rounds continue until two candidates remain, and whoever has the most votes wins.
Peltola will serve the remaining months of the late Republican Rep. Don Young's term and then run in the general election. Young held the seat for 49 years before his death in March.
Rep. Nick Begich was seeking reelection in 1972 when his plane disappeared. Begich was later declared dead and Young in 1973 was elected to the seat.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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