Ranked Choice Voting Could Destroy Your Vote – With Shelley Hughes: Alaska State Senator Shelley Hughes explains what ranked choice voting is. Now in force in Alaska, it is coming to other states as well. This convoluted system of voting skews your vote and brings the more liberal candidates to the top. What can we do about it? How can you make sure it stays out of your state?

Air Date: 12/21/2022

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Audio Transcript:

Rick Green:
You found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live where we are covering topics that are really at the hotbed of the culture right now. I mean, these are the topics of people are talking about these, the topics you’re seeing on the news and what we do that’s a little different for most folks is that we actually address those topics from a very particular perspective. In other words, the paradigm through which we’re looking. The thing that’s driving our conversation when it comes to these hot topics of the day, it’s a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. So on every issue that we address, every guest that we have, every topic that we cover, what we’re trying to think through is, Was the Bible say about this was the right biblical position? What can history teach us about this? What do we learn learn whether it’s in the last few decades or in the history of the world. And then what does the Constitution say about it? Was the right way to look at this from a jurisdictional perspective in the American system. In our Constitutional republic. We believe and we think it bears out that when you take those three perspectives on any issue of the day, you’re going to find the right position on those issues. And you’re also going to learn how to strategically, purposely insert yourself into the questions and the discussions of today in a positive manner to have a positive impact in your community, in your state and in our nation. So we appreciate you joining us for that conversation, today. We’re going to have that conversation with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder a WallBuilders. Tim Barton’s with us National speaker and pastor and President of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator. You can be a part of this team by going to WallBuildersLive.com today. Click on that Contribute button and make that one time or monthly contribution. Those dollars go a long way to investing and preserving freedom for the next generation. We greatly appreciate your partnership in that. Check it out today at WallBuildersLive.com . Click on Contribute and whether it’s one time or maybe you want to do a monthly donation, give up one nice cup of coffee a month or whatever you can do, it greatly helps us. We appreciate you being a part of the team. Alright guys, later in the program. We’ve got a Senator from Alaska that’s going to join us because Alaska is one of the places that has embraced this ranked choice voting and it’s a disaster. But before, before he to the senator there’s probably a lot of people listening that have no idea what ranked choice voting is, which. I didn’t know what it was until just a few months ago. I didn’t even realize that Alaska was already full blown into this thing, and apparently Nevada’s considering it. I think some local entities are considering it, so I guess first guys, what is ranked choice voting versus just voting?

David Barton:
Well, let me back up and make a little correction. Rick, Nevada has already approved it on the ballot. Now they have to prove it a second time, and Maine has it. There are more than seventy jurisdictions that currently use ranked choice voting. It is something that that’s not good. It’s come in only in the last few years. It’s a very new innovation, and I use innovation with air quotes around it. It’s a really, really bad idea. It is not worked well at all. It takes away the constitutional principle that the will of… George Washington said, the fundamental principle, the Constitution is the will of the majority shall prevail. That’s not what happens. This breaks the voters down into all sorts of different subsegments, and then it combines various subsegments to come up with some kind of a consensus. So you don’t get a clear vote of a majority. You start ranking your vote by saying, okay, if there were five guys running for governor, here’s my first choice, here’s my second, here’s my third, here’s my fourth. Well, my first choice didn’t make it. He came in fourth. So now we’re going move my number two vote up to the number one. And so you go through these all these convolutions of moving your votes around between various individuals.

Tim Barton:
Well, and I would push back slightly. It’s not quite as convoluted as some people might imagine, although it’s certainly a broken, messed up system. I have a lot of issues and grievances with it. But right, if if they’re saying there’s five people running for governor and you get to choose who your five are, well the top two or three vote-getters nobody has enough votes. And so they’re gonna say, okay, let’s… the people who clearly are nowhere near this. The fourth and fifth options. Let’s drop them off. So the people that had the fourth or fifth option as their number one votes. We will now go and see their number to vote their number three vote and we will assign, reassign their vote somewhere else. And the only reason I push back is because at the end of the day, the person that wins does win with the majority of the vote. But dad, to your point, it is a convoluted way of getting there. It’s not clean. It’s not clear. And a lot of people that end up casting this vote. They don’t understand how the process works. And as I’m sure we will get to in the interview today, what it ends up doing is, it ends up bringing where there should be more conservative candidates, ends up bringing them much more to the middle and really favoring a lot of the moderate leftists. It’s not something advantageous for conservatives for lots of reasons. And it’s back to your point of even the Founding Fathers. They wanted it to be very clear that a clear majority should win. This is where the the whole run off idea came from for a lot of states, is they want to make sure everybody is very clear. Who are we voting for? Alright, in a run off you have two options. There’s no confusion in a run off who you are voting for. Whereas if you’re doing ranked choice voting, there could be a lot of confusion who you’re voting for, and how the process works. It is not the cleanest is not the best. It’s not the most effective or efficient way. The argument that- Well, but we don’t have to go back and vote a second time because the votes are already there. I understand the argument. But, Dad, back to your point about this is to me where it does get convoluted It’s not quite as confusing as some people might imagine, but it’s certainly not the best way to do it. And it’s worth spending a little extra money if You have to have a second election to make sure it is very clear who we are voting for and understanding who those candidates are in a different representation, you’d get. It would make a major difference as opposed to your pointing out there’s already seventy areas, territories, whatever this is that are using some kind of ranked choice voting and I would just argue that probably none of those are being led by any kind of ultra conservative Christian individual. Probably in all those areas, it’s going to be very moderate to very extreme left.

David Barton:
Yeah, what happens is you actually end up having a uniparty is what it amounts to instead of having parties. And there is a good thing about parties now wash and talked about- If you love your party more than you love principal, that’s a really bad deal. But having parties makes distinctions. We know generally where one candidate is from one party and generally, where the other one is on things like abortion or marriage or whatever it is. And there’s the sanctions for sure. But generally you know what their governing philosophy is and they’re very different from each other. But if you take Dunleavy, who is the governor of Alaska, There were four people running for governor in Alaska. So instead of doing primaries, we’re going to put everybody on the ballot. We got four people on the ballot. And when you saw the results on election night, ninety four percent of the people voted for a Republican. There were three Republican candidates. There was one Democratic candidate. The Democrat only got six percent of the vote. So what happens is you voted all four candidates. You ranked all four according to choice, so the democrats would have ranked their Democrat is the number one choice, but that’s the one who fell off the ballot first. So who would the Democrats choose next? For the number two choice, they would choose the most liberal Republican that’s one of the three. Their third choice is going to be the next most liberal Republican. And the last choice are going to be the conservative Republican. So what happens as is they get knocked out because the Democrat is no longer on the ballot. But we’re going to let them vote on all the Republican primaries going forward. So when we do the next tally, just looking at all the three and we rank your vote. Now we’ve asked the Democrats to come in and help choose the Republican candidate for governor. And then when we take out that the next one, which might have been a conservative one, because now the Democrats are voting for the most liberal Republican. What you find is this moves up as you keep the Democrats voting in Republican primaries and you end up with not a conservative Republican because you’ve invited the Democrats in to bring their views with them, and so you usually end up moving to the left. You can get Republicans elected, but they’re not going be the conservative Republicans because you’re letting the Democrats help choose the Republicans. So you’ll find that they use this more in states, and it’s really popular to start up in states that are somewhat red because this can help turn them blue. This can help switch your legislature. This can help switch your governors this can help switch whatever and but it’s again, it’s letting the Democrats vote in the Republican primaries and choose the Republican candidates. And thus part of why its a really bad deal.

Rick Green:
We’re going to find out directly from Sen. Shelley Hughes. She is a state senator there in Alaska and dealing directly with this. Stay with his folks. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders.

Rick Green:
Welcome back to WallBuilders thanks for staying with us today. Our special guest today is Alaska State Sen. Shelley Hughes. Senator, thank you so much for coming on today!

Senator Shelley Hughes:
Hey, I’m happy to join you because I think this new subject of ranked Choice voting is a big one and we’ve got a lot of educating to do.

Rick Green:
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had, you know, several of our Constitution coaches asked me about this and You know, as I started looking into it and trying to figure out how in the world it works. The more I looked at it, the worse it got and the more it seemed like a really bad idea. You’re actually living with it in Alaska. So so tell us what, How does it work? Why do they want to do this and how do we stop this from spreading across the rest of the countries? A lot to cover.

Senator Shelley Hughes:
A lot to cover. And the purpose of ranked choice voting, I believe. First of all, if you look at who is pushing it and funding it, it’s very much liberals on the left, so that that should be A red flag. It’s been targeted in states that lean red, like Alaska has and in what it has done, it has been successful in pushing us significantly to the left in this first election cycle in November, and in which it was used. So it worked. It was an initiative that was introduced in our state and in only won by one percent. The only reason it won, however, is because they included a… They were very smart. They included a caveat to ban what they called dark money for candidates. In other words, money coming in from outside the state. The actual donors, the top donors, had to be listed couldn’t just come in from an organization, and that is, the people that voted yes, we’re voting because more dark money, that doesn’t sound good. We don’t want dark money in our state, and that’s actually why it passed.

Rick Green:
They were voting for transparency and disclosure. Not for not for this ranked choice thing.

Senator Shelley Hughes:
Yes, yes. And so I. I’ve heard that’s one of their angles and how they get it through. But still, it only passed at one percent. And what was the feedback that I got then. This as as we were preparing and trying to educate the state was, Oh wow. I voted for this. I didn’t realize what I was voting for. I just didn’t want dark money. I wanted transparency. So lot of regret, voter regret. And what What we’ve seen is that it disenfranchises voters. Now the pro side here is bragging that eighty per cent of Alaska found it manageable and simple. Well eighty per cent sounds pretty good. But the problem is twenty percent found it difficult. The regular system that we’ve had for decades. No one found it difficult. Why would we want a system that is difficult for twenty percent of voters and disenfranchises them? I actually had a senior citizen in tears because she was so intimidated by the process and the fact that the voting machine rejected her ballot and she was so embarrassed that she went back into the voting booth with a new ballot and did not rank. She just voted for one. And they’re so great chance for error. There is a great chance that your vote, will be what they call being exhausted. So either you made a mistake and your ballot gets pitched, or you don’t vote for anybody that makes it through the process. And so your vote in the end isn’t counted either. That’s not right. You know, we’re a nation based on one person, one vote, right?

Rick Green:
Yeah, so, I mean, just starting at the beginning, it’s just confusion for the voter themselves. And then it sounds like there’s multiple areas, additional areas for error, and and you know, problems to happen rather than just keeping it simple. So you’re always gonna have problems, right? It’s always going to be issues. But but the simpler the system is, the less likely that happens. This adds complications.

Senator Shelley Hughes:
It does. And um, here’s this. This defines pretty clearly what happened. Currently I am the Senate majority leader of a Republican majority. I’m losing that and I’m going to be in the minority. That’s how, that is what this does. It shifted our state Senate significantly to the left in one election cycle. So that should, you know… people need to really think about what it does. We’re always concerned. We talk about low-information voters and low-information. Voters are not stupid. They are busy. They are busy getting off to work, packing lunches for children, living life, and they have limited amount of time to sort through. And unfortunately, some do not spend as much time as they should. But now what we’re doing is instead of asking them to study up and make a decision on typically two candidates in a general election, now they have to be up on four or five candidate. So I think Nevada’s looking at having five on the general election in our state it was four. So now we have to… We’re doubling the amount of work that we’re asking voters to study up on, and that’s onerous That’s burdensome And I’ll tell you another little practical thing, The sign clutter! Oh my goodness. The sign clutter was just horrific it was, you know, more than double. It was just crazy this this election cycle. So for those that don’t like to see all that, it was something. But that one person, one vote goes away. We we saw seniors disenfranchised, minorities, nonenglish speaking disenfranchised anyone that new, or an infrequent voter it’s intimidating. So we did see voter turnout go down by a couple of percent and that’s very, very typical.

Rick Green:
At a time where everybody everywhere else in the country voter turnout was going up. So I mean, that’s a really strong indication right there that it’s disenfranchising people and then the confusion… And then just the results. I mean, our audience is a conservative audience. These are constitution loving, you know, restore the country, restore liberty, people, and the results speak for themselves. I mean it was a disaster for the Alaska Republican Party and conservatives. Is that fair to say?

Senator Shelley Hughes:
Yes. And you know, we actually do know that us sender Lisa Murkowski, she was part of bringing it into the states. He knew that winning a Republican primary would be difficult and so it was a lot of people that had worked in her camp that brought it in. And they didn’t hide that fact. And it worked. She was reelected. You know what was happening is we saw where either very what I would consider left of center Republicans, like like Lisa Murkowski, and we had some of that in some legislative races where you could see people were choosing Republican. But then the more left Republican would cross the finish line when the tabulation occurred. So there’d be an elimination of a candidate. And in one case it was a Democrat. And the Democrats, then are… Their second place vote is going to the more left of center Republican. And that is what happened in the Lisa Murkowski Race that happened in one one of our state Senate races. And so you might be getting a Republican in those those instances, but it is someone the democrats were supporting. That’s that’s where we saw the shift to the left in the state. So states need to be aware. For our turnout overall number, it was the lowest since 2012. So in ten years and like you said, it was going up. Another thing I want to point out, just as because they are pushing this. Of course, Nevada has to have an under ballot again. So what happens in Alaska becomes very important because we are looking now at repealing it, and there is an effort underway to put it.

Rick Green:
You read my mind. That was my next question. How do you turn this thing around? So yes, keep going.

Senator Shelley Hughes:
Right, to put it back on the ballot. You know, when I was reading an article, I believe it was the Epoch Times, who does a good job. But it was not lawmakers that put it in, it was a citizen’s initiative. We got tricked. So now we were trying to stand up an initiative to repeal it. However we know that millions up dollars will flood in from outside. We can call that dark money, right? And all it took to try to keep it. So we’re just going to be incredibly difficult. We’re going to need support. We’re going to need support nationally, because we’ve been the guinea pig for this. We are what we call a cheap date. We have only seven hundred thirty thousand people in our large, geographically large state. Here we have a very limited media market. And for a handful five to six million, the media market can be bought up so a lot cheaper than at other places. However, it has tremendous national implications. We send two US senators to Washington, just like California and New York, right, and Illinois. And also what happens here… If we are able to overturn it and repeal it, yhat’s going to be a warning signs that other states that are being courted right now to to bring ranked choice voting forward. So what Happens here will impact how Nevada voters vote on theirs.

Rick Green:
And and that’s going to happen when?

Senator Shelley Hughes:
The initiative would be on the 2024 ballot. The initiative to repeal. A referendum, actually, to repeal would be 2024. But it’s going to be very costly. It is going to be a high stakes battle. We’re going to need help from a national organization to help us get the word out and and to… Because I believe that a lot of money from progressive organizations will flood the state to try to keep it in place. I just wanted to make a couple of other points that are important for people to weigh in. And that is, it makes it very difficult for hand counting and in a time where people are lacking trust and confidence in the election process, you do need to be able to hand count to. To verify. That makes it very difficult and also delays the time for when you have the result. And so every time you delay, the time that opens the door to more fraud. So those are concerning matters too. Overall, let’s get back to one person, one vote. And lets understand. Maine actually also had a lawsuit that did not allow for state elections, only federal because their constitution does not have run off elections. Whoever gets the most elections wins, plurality. We have that in our constitution also. However, the judge failed to look at that and also failed to look at the precedent set in Maine So states should be aware of what the Constitution has as far as plurality vs. Majority.

Rick Green:
Yeah, all good additional reasons to be against in that first one you mentioned. I’m definitely with you on that for sure. I’ve been through a recount myself. Having those paper ballots that you can go in and hand count when you need to is absolutely critical. Without that verification there’s no trust in the process. Out of time, Senator, God bless you. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Senator Shelley Hughes:
Thank you.

Rick Green:
Stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

Rick Green:
We’re back on WallBuilders. Thanks for staying with us, and special thanks to Alaska Sen. Shelley Hughes for joining us as well. Guys, What a warning to really everybody across all the states don’t adopt this. And if you’ve got it, start looking for ways like Shelley is in Alaska to reverse this.

David Barton:
Man, she had a great quote. She said, Low-information voters are not stupid, they’re just busy. And that’s really true. And so now you’re getting into a system where that you have to study all four or five candidates at every position on the ballot. You got a rank four or five candidates for governor, for US senator for US Congress and for state Rep and state senator. Now you’ve got to get into all these multiple candidates, and instead of having a primary where you’ve got some time you can look at it and choose the one that’s [best]. You’ve got like open primaries. And this is, as she pointed out, this was a red leaning state, a fairly, somewhat conservative state. And now she’s gone from being the majority leader in the Senate to being the minority leader in the Senate in what’s considered a red state. And that’s… You know, as she pointed out, this is a harder thing. This disenfranchises a lot of people and it makes much harder to know much about the candidates. Because now you’re having to study perhaps dozens of candidates when you… If you going to know all those on the ballot and rank them, it is just not a good system.

Tim Barton:
Well, guys remember too, what Shelley pointed out was she thought the reason at won by one percent or one vote whatever, then that how that figure was, the reason it won is people by and large were thinking they were voting is dark money. Or at least that was her take, the feedback she’s heard is that they were voting against people from outside the state being able to fund the candidates inside this state. And the people inside the state didn’t even know who’s funding these candidates. And where’s the money coming from? And they’re against dark money. Well, well, this is. Also, by the way, one of the problems that we’ve talked about many times with some of the Congressional budgets in some of these Congressional continuing resolutions is that spending that happens in Congress is they put so many things in there. And then if you vote in favor or against it, they say, wait a second, you voted in favor of this and you’re like No, I was voting for something else That was just that was this was part of it. Or they said How dare you vote against this. I’m not voting against that I’m voting against something else in there when when you put so much in there, it it overcomplicate something. And it does confuse voters at times to make them think they’re voting against something they are actually Voting against or voting in favor of something they aren’t actually voting in favor of, but certainly there should be very telling. Anybody that’s living in Nevada or anywhere else is considering this. This is a bad idea that this is not the way it should be done. This is not the most practical, efficient way to do things. It’s certainly not the most clear and it will not end up with the results you want unless you are a secular liberal. Then it does probably help your cause in some of these more read conservative leaning right areas and states. But this is something that we definitely to pay attention to and should not be behind or support on any level as constitutional conservatives.

Rick Green:
We are at a time for today folks. Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live today! Be sure again to hit that website. WallBuildersLive.com is a place where you can get a lot of great resources and also get into the archives of the program. Listen to some interviews in the previous weeks, maybe catch a couple of those good news Fridays you might have missed, or Foundations of Freedom Thursdays. Lots of great information there. You can do that through your podcast app or listening to one of the hundreds of stations were on across the nation. And then, of course, we won’t encourage you, when you’re at the website WallBuildersLive.com , click on that Contribute button. Make that one time or monthly contribution. Come alongside us. Be a part of this solution. Help us restore America’s constitutional republic. Help us pass it intact to the next generation. Thanks for being a part of WallBuilders Live and thanks for listening today to WallBuilders Live.