Trump Rips Ranked-Choice Voting in Alaska—a 'Moderating Force' in Australia

Former President Donald Trump bashed ranked-choice voting systems during a Saturday rally in Anchorage, Alaska.

His comment came during a tirade against Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is one of the handful of GOP lawmakers who voted to convict him during his second impeachment trial last year. In addition to admonishing her as a "RINO," which is an acronym for "Republican in name only," Trump alleged that she was responsible for the state adopting ranked-choice voting, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

"She knew she couldn't win a straight-up election, so she went to this ranked-choice crap," the ex-president said. "She could finish in fifth place, but win because of that crazy system."

Lisa Murkowski and Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump on Saturday decried ranked choice voting during a rally in Anchorage, Alaska. In this combination image, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Left) speaks during a news conference about high gas prices at the U.S. Capitol on May 18, 2022 in Washington, DC Trump is seen at the rally. Getty

Also known as preferential voting, ranked-choice refers to any system of voting in which participants rank candidates in order of preference, rather than choosing only one candidate. The system also includes procedures in the event that one candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of first-choice votes. FairVote, a self-described non-partisan election reform organization, called such systems "a way to ensure elections are fair for all voters" and "a simple change that can have a big impact."

Ranked-choice voting has slowly been adopted over the years by numerous lower-level jurisdictions in the United States. As of this year, 20 cities use them, including New York City and San Francisco.

Alaska is the second state to adopt ranked-choice voting for elections statewide, with residents approving the change in the 2020 election. The change also replaced partisan primaries with a single blanket primary, in which the top four candidates advance to the general election. Alaska followed Maine, which adopted ranked-choice after a proposal passed the state legislature in August 2019.

The system has also been implemented by numerous countries, including Australia. According to The Washington Post, political scientist Lee Drutman considered the system to have a "moderating" effect on Australia's elections. In May, the center-left Australian Labor Party won a majority of House seats for the first time since 2007.

Trump put considerable focus on Murkowski during his Anchorage rally, with the News-Miner counting at least 40 mentions in an informal tally of his speech. The former president is hoping to oust the senator in the upcoming midterm elections by endorsing Kelly Tshibaka for her seat. Trump also endorsed former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, who is running for the House seat that was vacated following the death of Representative Don Young earlier this year.

"She is the biggest RINO in the party and is a complete fraud," Trump said of Murkowski during his speech, also noting her history of voting against his agenda, including votes against the Southern border wall and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Newsweek reached out to Murkowski for comment.