Voting booths are seen in Cordova on March 2, 2021. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith for The Cordova Times

During their October meeting the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) passed a resolution to endorse the preservation of open primaries and ranked-choice voting in the state — opposing the repealing of these systems. It was the organizations’ first resolution of the year. 

In the ANB and ANS Grand Camp Resolution 23-01 the Indigenous rights and advocacy groups said that repealing the existing systems would subvert the will of Alaskan voters, as well as “exacerbate polarization and hyper-partisanship, centralize power within the hands of small groups of partisan voters, and discourage commonsense legislating and consensus-building.” 

In 2020 Alaskan voters voted to approve Ballot Measure 2, which created an open primary and the ranked choice voting system across the state.  

“We are honored to be aligned with the world’s oldest known Indigenous civil rights organization in protecting open primaries and ranked-choice voting,” said Juli Lucky, executive director of Alaskans for Better Elections in a statement. “We thank the leadership of Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood for stepping up to preserve the current voter-centric election system.” 

Ballot Measure 2 was promoted and supported by Alaskans for Better Elections. However, special interest groups like Alaskans for Honest Elections are trying to introduce a new ballot measure to overturn the successful one and repeal the system. Alaskans for Honest Elections are facing fines for violating campaign finance laws

Earlier in October, the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) voted to preserve open primaries and ranked-choice voting. AFN is the state’s largest Native organization, representing 160 Tribes, 154 corporations, and 10 consortiums.  


“Given the polarization in the country, Alaskans cannot afford to merely preserve the nonpartisan open primary and ranked-choice voting model,” said Joe Nelson, AFN co-chair. “We have an obligation to lead a movement. Our current elections law will help restore confidence in our electoral system by creating a lane that allows politicians to become public servants — in service of all Alaskans.” 

AFN Resolution 23-26 highlighted that six in 10 Alaskans are nonpartisan, and said that Alaskans should be able to choose a person instead of a political party. AFN also said that this system will encourage good public policies instead of extreme partisanship.  

“We are honored to be aligned with Alaska’s largest organization of Indigenous voices,” said Lucky, in a statement after the AFN resolution passed. “I thank Sealaska Corporation for sponsoring the resolution and the AFN delegates who voted to preserve our current voter-centric election system–which leads to more voice, and better representation.” 

ANB and its counterpart ANS are nonprofits founded to achieve economic equality, promote Native solidarity, and address racism faced by Alaska Natives in the state. ANB was founded in 1912, and ANS was founded in 1915.