Results in Alaska’s congressional elections will not be decided until November 23 — two weeks after Election Day — thanks to the state’s new ranked-choice voting system, which delays the tabulation of second- and third-choice selections.
As of Wednesday morning, challenger Kelly Tshibaka (R) held a narrow lead over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). But Tshibaka’s 44% was not enough to win an outright majority in the four-candidate race. If Murkowski wins enough second-choice votes — including from the 9.5% of voters who chose the lone Democrat in the race — then she will win and retain her Senate seat.
Likewise in the race for the state’s at-large congressional district. Incumbent Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK), who took office in a special election earlier this year that was the first to feature the ranked-choice system, only won 47% of first-choice votes. Republican Sarah Palin finished second. The total Republican vote was more than a majority, but ranked-choice meant that Palin split the Republican vote with another GOP candidate, Nick Begich, and likely means that a Democrat will continue to represent a largely conservative state in the U.S. House.