Opponents of Alaska's ranked-choice voting system win first round in case to block question of repeal of November vote

Alaska Supreme Court Justice Christina Rankin rejected allegations that the Alaska Board of Elections violated laws and regulations when she upheld a ballot proposal aimed at abolishing the state's controversial ranked-choice voting system, which eliminated traditional party primaries and long-standing voting practices.

In a June 7 ruling, Rankin denied the plaintiffs' motion to grant them summary judgment and block the ballot proposal without requiring a regular trial.

In his order, Rankin rejected plaintiffs' arguments that state election officials acted improperly by allowing ballot bill sponsors to correct minor errors in several dozen signature booklets after they had already submitted the signatures for certification.

Instead, Rankin's order affirmed that election officials had followed applicable laws, regulations and court precedents by allowing the errors to be corrected and ultimately certifying the ballot for next November's ballot.

Although Rankin's order represents a major victory for efforts to overturn the ban, it did not go so far as to dismiss the case entirely, as the state is seeking.

Rankin gave the plaintiffs the opportunity to present evidence to support their claim that thousands of signatures had to be invalidated due to technical errors and mistakes.

The state has until June 10 to respond to the plaintiff's evidence and then refile its own motion asking Rankin to dismiss the plaintiff's case entirely.

The trial is scheduled to begin June 24, but if Rankin grants the state's motion for summary judgment, the case will be closed unless an appeal is filed with the Alaska Supreme Court.

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Anna Harden

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