The landscape in Alaska
The Election Denier movement showed up in Alaska in its earliest days—in the weeks after the 2020 election, when President Trump lied about widespread fraud and state officials began to join the charade. And it hasn’t gone away.
Alaska’s Gov. Mike Dunleavy is an Election Denier. His administration supported Texas v. Pennsylvania, the failed 2020 case that asked the Supreme Court to overturn the election results in four states that voted for President Biden. “The question of free and fair elections must be answered in order for all Americans to have confidence in our system,” Dunleavy said in December 2020. Federal officials had already said there was no widespread fraud in the election—calling it the most secure in U.S. history.
Election denial in Alaska goes beyond just state office. The Anchorage Daily News reported that in Alaska’s 2022 U.S. House race, only one candidate would acknowledge that Joe Biden won the presidential election in 2020. Sarah Palin, who lost the House race, later said without evidence that the state’s ranked-choice voting system could lead to fraud. Election denial plagued the 2022 Alaska Senate race, too: Kelly Tshibaka wouldn’t commit to accepting the election results, and she called the race “rigged” while counting was still underway.
1 Election Denier holds statewide Office right now.
Elections are run by the states. In Alaska, the Governor, Attorney General, and Lieutenant Governor are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. In most states, the Secretary of State is the chief election official. Alaska is an exception: The Lieutenant Governor holds that responsibility. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.
Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections
Governor of Alaska
Term started 2023
Term ends 2027
Taken action to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election or subsequent election cycles, including:
Filing or supporting litigation seeking to overturn the results based on conspiracies or baseless legal theories.
Filing or supporting litigation that was sanctioned for being malicious or without merit in the aftermath of an election.
Promoting or participating in a Stop the Steal–sponsored or branded event or rally during or following the 2020 election.
Calling for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election or a race in subsequent elections after the results were certified, were officially audited, or stood up to multiple legal challenges.
Falsely claimed former President Trump won the 2020 presidential election instead of the legitimate winner, President Biden.
Spread lies or promoted conspiracies about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election or subsequent election cycles in public, including in social media, press statements, or comments to the press.
Refused to certify, or called on or pressured election officials to refuse to certify, the 2020 presidential election results or a race in subsequent elections based on meritless claims about election fraud, voter fraud, misinformation, or lies.
Refused to concede a race, or publicly supported a candidate’s refusal to concede a race, after the results were officially audited or stood up to multiple legal challenges.
How Alaska compares
Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Alaska compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.
Election Denial in Far West States
|Moreinformation about Alaska|
|Moreinformation about California|
State Elections Board
|Moreinformation about Hawai‘i|
|Moreinformation about Nevada|
|Moreinformation about Oregon|
|Moreinformation about Washington|
Sitting official is an Election Denier
- In Alaska, the chief election official is the Lieutenant Governor, elected alongside the Governor.
- In Hawai'i, the Chief Election Official is appointed by the Hawai'i Elections Commission.
Voter turnout over time
Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Alaska elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.
Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.
Beyond the ballot box
Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections.
The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.