Election changes such as ranked-choice voting and nonpartisan primaries are popping up across the country—and are already upending national politics.
Russell Berman | January 26, 2021
The ballot measure that Alaska adopted by a narrow margin last fall represents the farthest-reaching changes to any state’s election laws in recent memory, giving a boost to political reformers who are trying to increase voter participation while reducing the incentives for partisanship across the country. Its advocates hope the reforms will be a model for other states, leading to a shift in how both Congress and state legislatures function in the years ahead. And for the next two years, they will have their eye on Murkowski.
The referendum scraps party primaries in favor of a single nonpartisan primary, a move that might help Murkowski more directly than any other politician in Alaska. In 2010, Murkowski was defeated in a Republican primary and secured her second full term only after mounting an unlikely write-in campaign in the general election. She’s up for reelection next year, and before Alaska passed its ballot measure, Murkowski was seen as once again vulnerable to a primary challenge because of her votes against her party, whether in rejecting the GOP’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act or opposing Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
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