Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is slated to make her political comeback official in the Tuesday night special election to replace deceased Rep. Don Young, after advancing in June’s GOP primary.
While Palin is the favorite to win, there is one thing standing in her way: The new ranked-choice voting system in Alaska. Currently, the race is between Palin, Republican Nathan Begich III, and Democrat Mary Peltola, and the bizarre system of having first, second, and third choices on the ballot could make this race anybody’s game.
If Palin or another candidate does not hit 50 percent in the first round, the lowest vote-getter of that round is scrapped. The process keeps repeating itself until one candidate hits the majority, and they will be the winner. For Palin, it will ultimately boil down to making sure that there are plenty of voters who chose her not just for the first choice, but the second choice as well. That likely won’t be the case for Democratic voters, as she is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
The results would presumably not be known on Tuesday, given that mail-in ballots also have to be counted.
“In Alaska, we have this bizarre system, this newfangled [system] that’s been newly adopted where we have a ranked-choice voting system, where it doesn’t matter if you win by getting the most votes. Really, it matters if you have more second- and third-place votes, according to how the voters are ranking you,” Palin said at CPAC Texas earlier in August, according to The Washington Examiner.
“It is bizarre, it’s convoluted, it’s complicated, and it results in voter suppression,” she continued.
While the former 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee might not make it through Tuesday, she’ll likely have another shot in November. The special election coincides with the open primary for the seats, so voters will have both the current vacancy and the next term on their ballots. The top four vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary will advance, but the three special election candidates will have to duke it out with 19 other candidates, according to The New York Times.
If Palin makes it through, she’ll undoubtedly become one of the most vocal Republicans in the House.