Alaska recently held a high-profile special election to elect a member of Congress to complete the term of U.S. Representative Don Young, who died in March. In 2020, Alaska voters approved the use of ranked-choice voting, the voting system used in this special election. This is in contrast to plurality voting, or winner-take-all voting, which is in use in most of the United States. In ranked-choice voting, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. That candidate's voters' ballots are counted for their second choice pick. So voters still have a voice in the process even if their first choice candidate does not win. It is a complicated process to explain but not to understand. As this is a system that is increasingly being considered for U.S. elections, it is a good time for voters to become familiar with it.
Alaska Division of Elections
This website has a very good, brief video about how ranked-choice voting works.
"Sarah Paliln's Defeat in Alaska Proves Ranked-Choice Voting Works" - Washington Post
"The system elevates candidates who are more broadly acceptable. Letting voters rank their preferences in open primaries will tend to elevate pragmatists over ideologues. It makes it harder for candidates with a fervent but narrow base of support and gives voice to the disaffected middle."
"Ranked-Choice Voting" - National Conference of State Legislatures
"New York City Voters Just Adopted Ranked-Choice Voting in Elections. Here's How It Works" - Time Magazine
And if you really want to geek out, here is a 5-minute TEd-Ed video, "Which Voting System Is the Best?"