Katherine Gehl Talks about Alaska's Voting Experiment

My guest today is Katherine Gehl. She is part of the movement to protect and strengthen democracy by restructuring our election rules. Gehl is a former CEO of the food company her father started, which she sold in 2015 to focus on political reform. She founded the Institute for Political Innovation and co-wrote a book in 2020 with business consultant and author Michael Porter, “The Politics Industry,” in which they argue that political innovation is crucial to reversing the doom loop that American politics is stuck in currently.

Gehl's main focus is final five voting. Alaska is the first state to do a version of this in their fall elections this year, though it's final four and not final five. Here's what that means: There will be no party primary in this new system. All candidates of all parties will run against one another in the August 16 primary contest. The primary will not be a ranked-choice election. The top four vote-getters will proceed to the Nov. 8 general election.


Only then, in the fall election, will ranked-choice voting — also known as instant runoff voting — be implemented. Maine has used ranked choice voting statewide the last few years, and a growing number of cities and localities also are using the reform. New York City’s mayoral contest was the most well known example of this last year.


But no state has tried what Alaska will do this fall. The hope is that it will reduce the grip that each side’s most intense partisans exercise on American elections through closed party primaries followed by plurality winners in general elections.

You can read my full article on this here.

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