By ALEX GIMARC
Our friends from Alaskans for Better Elections, sensing a disturbance in the Force, have started an ad campaign on local radio in defense of Ballot Measure 2, the rewrite of state election law passed in 2020.
The ad campaign is a purely defensive attempt to change the topic from the failure of Ballot Measure 2 (aka Ranked Choice Voting) by telling listeners that not only is the rewrite a smashing success, but Alaskans are overwhelmingly in support of it.
I suppose that all depends on your perspective, which is where the “lying liars” part comes in.
If you look at their web site, the three big points of success are open primaries, ranked choice voting, and limiting dark money. The dark money piece is the most important, as their entire campaign for passage in 2020, all nicely focus-group-informed, was based on controlling dark money in Alaska elections.
Note that they are proud of pushing a ballot initiative that did at least three different things, any of which could have been offered and passed individually. Before their self-serving opinion on Ballot Measure 2, the Alaska Supreme Court had regularly and rightfully thrown out any and all ballot initiatives that tried to do (in their opinion) more than one thing. How did the court miss this one?
The problem is that Ballot Measure 2 was carefully and specifically written to only apply to dark money spent in state and local races. It was not written to control or even place any limit on dark money for candidates for federal office (US Senate, US House, President), or more tellingly, for ballot initiatives. This is why Sen. Mitch McConnell spent some $9 million to purchase Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s loyalty last year. Even Alaskans for Better Elections campaign was almost entirely funded by dark, outside money, as are their continued operations today.
In fact, Ballot Measure 2 had the opposite effect. Rather than controlling dark money, it put it in the driver’s seat, like it was last year. And dark money will continue to drive the campaign bus here in Alaska until Ballot Measure 2 is repealed.
If you remember the campaign, it started out mentioning the jungle primaries and ranked choice voting. Apparently, polling on both of those didn’t go so well, so it quickly and completely shifted to controlling dark money, which was a winner in their internal polling. Too bad it didn’t do anything of the kind.
The other failure of Ballot Measure 2 was seen in turnout, which was a miserable 44% in November….