Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
Your voice in the Aleutians.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Ranked choice voting faces challenges this session, but Rep. Edgmon looks to a broader discussion

James Brooks
Alaska Beacon
The four members of the Alaska Bush Caucus, (from left to right) Reps. Neal Foster, D-Nome; C.J. McCormick, D-Bethel; Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham; and Josiah Patkotak, I-Utqiagvik, take their oaths of office on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. On Thursday, three of the four voted in favor of Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, for Speaker of the House. Originally published on

In 2020, Alaskans voted to change the state’s election system. And last year those changes went into effect in the form of ranked choice voting and non-partisan primaries. But those changes are being challenged, both by a petition and by bills lawmakers will take up this session.

Dillingham Independent Rep. Bryce Edgmon said he wasn’t surprised.

“Looking at the bills that have been pre-filed, there's a number that address repealing rank choice voting for sure, coming from more conservative legislators,” he said, speaking a few days before the legislature convened. “But there's also a number of bills that would address the election system more in its entirety.”

Edgmon supports ranked choice voting — he said it sets the stage for more moderate candidates to run for seats in the legislature and meet each other in the middle.

“I've never been a fan of the close but Republican primary system," he said. "I thought that sent a lot of extreme legislators to Juneau,” he said. 

Edgmon thinks it’s not ranked choice voting specifically that the legislature needs to address. He’s open to wider conversations about Alaska’s elections.

“What can we do more to make it easier for people to vote and for people to have a higher degree of confidence in the outcomes of the election?” he said.

But Edgmon said Alaska has lessons to offer about ranked choice voting. And he hopes the system will serve as a model for other states for years to come.

Get in touch with the author at or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.