Letter to the Editor: Vote Yes on 1

3 mins read

Mainers are pragmatic, hardworking, resourceful and persistent, so it was no surprise that Ranked Choice Voting was passed as an efficient, fiscally responsible remedy for some of our current political woes. Our Constitution states: “All power is inherent in the people … they have therefore an unalienable and indefeasible right to institute government, and to alter, reform, or totally change the same, when their safety and happiness require it.” It also came as no surprise that supporters petitioned for a people’s veto when legislators tried to delay implementation (as they obstructed every one of the referendums voters recently passed.)

RCV, also known as Instant Run-off Balloting, is comparable to traditional run-off elections without a decrease in participation for subsequent rounds of voting or costs. People of many different political stripes support it … although that might be hard to see at the moment. A bill introduced in 2007 to require RCV in Gubernatorial elections had 5 republican cosponsors—including one who represented folks of a town here in Franklin County before becoming a State Senator. [Bragging rights to whoever can name him first in the comments!] The Secretary of State Elections Commission has nonpartisan materials including a video, as does the Maine League of Women Voters. There are also many RCV educational events happening around Maine, check local events listings.

The Maine GOP changed their platform this year to file suit in Federal Court, which failed. Ironically, the GOP Rules from 2016 require a run-off process in determining their own leadership. [Read sections 2.3b and 2.3c.] Why would any party choose to advance a candidate that can’t win the majority, especially when they recognized the advantage of doing so when electing party leadership?

There’s no reason to be concerned about how much time it might take to determine a winner if no candidate achieves majority in the first round. With the current system it took 40 DAYS to do a recount and certify a winner after a razor-thin Democratic win for Governor in 1970 … and the world did not end. It’s offensive that some objectors claim the new balloting style is too difficult for voters, that folks didn’t understand what we were voting for. Mainers are as smart as people that use this method elsewhere, and made history for implementing it statewide for the primaries.

Vote to make history again! Vote YES on Question 1!

Gwen Doak

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  1. What makes you unhappy with our government? The fact that Paul LePage won and was acknowledged as one of America’s most fiscally responsible governors? I can see how that might be a bad thing to some, especially if they are Socialists or Communists who think the government should pay for everything. Trying to save Maine’s paper and logging industries, the two types of industries that employ more Mainers in the second district than tourism does in the first district. That might seem bad to tree huggers in southern Maine. Not wanting to see the destruction of Maine timberlands for the purpose of windmills, it is pretty windy along the coast, yet people don’t want off shore windmills because they might be seen from land. Lets level Old Orchard Beach and build a windfarm, no? It gets windy down there. His crass attitude, ah that’s it. He is not afraid to speak his piece, the last time I checked, politeness and being soft spoken were not job requirements. Running our state is a business, not a state funded daycare. Maine needs leaders like Paul Lepage who are not afraid to make the tough decisions that benefit all Mainers, statewide, not just the select few in southern parts, RCV, basically takes the power from the majority and gives it to the minority, that is not how democracy works. We have a majority rules society.

  2. Great letter. Despite all the attempts at obstruction, we need this voting process, which reflects the actual will of the people, to prevail. I hope people of both parties will get behind it, because only myopic partisan tools prefer leadership that does not reflect their own interests and choices. Thank you, Gwen!

  3. Agree very much with this letter–and was not aware that the Maine GOP essentially used a run-off style voting process! How…interesting…that they seem to not want it now. Nothing that I’ve come across in my reading about RCV suggests to me that it strips power from the majority and gives it to the minority. To the contrary, it seems as if it provides an opportunity for a more fair and balanced system. The fact that it might also lead to more civilized and less hostile campaigning from candidates is a nice bonus.

  4. HB might note that RCV won by a small, but clear, majority. If HB truly believes in “majority rules,” he might reflect on that.
    It’s also worth reminding HB that Paul LePage never won a majority of votes in his races for governor. Maine law already gives power to the minority.

  5. A winner should have a majority of the votes, NOT a plurality.

    TRUE that LePage never received a majority of the votes, not in 2010 nor 2014.

    If not RCV, then a “top two” primary system even if they’re from the same party.

  6. It’s interesting to note that both Democrat John Baldacci and Republican Paul LePage were re-elected with 38% of the vote, yet this was not a cause for hand wringing when the victor had the letter D after their name. If people are inclined to alter the way we elect our leaders, let’s not let out of state money attempt some sort of an end run around the Constitution of the State of Maine. There’s a process for changing the constitution, and there’s a reason that the bar is set higher than a referendum vote. Seriously, what could be simpler or represent the will of the people better than this concept: “Everyone gets one vote, then the candidate who receives the most votes, wins the election”? With ranked choice or instant runoff voting, you do know that legally cast votes go uncounted, right? That’s the price of moving from a plurality to a majority. Win or lose, I want my vote to be counted, don’t you? They get to a majority by getting rid of votes until a majority exists. I believe in the referendum process, I’ve worked to gather signatures to get a referendum question on the ballot. However, the Constitution must trump the results of a referendum. What if a majority voted to do away with Freedom of Speech, or Freedom of Religion, or the right to bear arms? The founders got this right, and it has worked for decades, if not centuries. Even if certain people (or parties) had to taste loss instead of victory from time to time. For goodness sakes, quit whining when you lose, and grow up. Vote NO on question one! “One person, one vote”.

  7. I for one will vote for the one I want for our next governor as my first choice and leave the 2nd and 3rd boxes blank.

  8. If its not broken it does not need to be fixed is my opinion.I cannot see where the present voting method is broken so i can notsee the need for attempting to fix it.Leave well enough alone..I vote No.on Rvc.

  9. IMO, Baldacci was very qualified to be Gov. of Maine, unlike our current one.

    “Baldacci was first elected to public office in 1978 at the age of 23, when he served on the Bangor City Council. He continued in politics, winning election to the Maine Senate in 1982. Baldacci served as a State Senator for 12 years. In 1994, following the retirement of his cousin, United States Senator George J. Mitchell, Baldacci won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine’s Second District, replacing Senator (then Representative) Olympia Snowe, who had moved on to Mitchell’s open Senate seat. He was re-elected to Congress in the elections of 1996, 1998, and 2000, serving on the House Agriculture Committee and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

    A Democrat, Baldacci was first elected in 2002 (with 47% of the vote, the first Democrat to win that office in twenty years), defeating Republican candidate Peter Cianchette, who garnered 41% of the vote, and Green Party nominee Jonathan Carter, who won 9%. Baldacci was sworn in as Maine’s Governor on January 8, 2003.
    In 2006, Baldacci won re-election from a field of 4 major candidates

    Yes in 2006, 38+% for Baldacci, but the next highest was 30+%, a rather significant margin in the win.

    Why continue splitting the vote in the General elections so that Independents, Greens, etc. turn out to be “spoilers” rather than the “influencers” they should be?

  10. @Marie E

    IMO, Paul LePage is very qualified to be Gov. of Maine, unlike Baldacci.

    I will be voting no. Marie would just as soon have the Maine constitution ignored for the sake of her opinion and discard my vote.

    VOTE NO!

  11. A likely outcome of ranked choice voting will be the elimination of viable alternatives to the Democrat and Republican parties. “Third” parties are a plus to our electoral system whether they are Green, Tea or other. Please consider this outcome if ranked choice voting is passed. I voted NO.

  12. IMO, Paul LePage is very qualified to be Gov. of Maine, unlike Baldacci.

    Marie E. would have no problem with the Maine Constitution being ignored
    and yours and my vote thrown out for the sake of her opinion.
    If you don’t like the current process then vote for someone who
    will seek a Constitutional Amendment (the proper channel) to change
    the way we vote.

    So where do I sign the citizen’s referendum to get rid of the freedom of speech?
    Sound stupid? Don’t kid yourself, it will happen at some point, but the liberal progressives
    and Democrats will try to make sure it only applies to those that disagree with them,
    you see, they are just so much more “qualified”.

    I encourage you to vote no on this fantastically dumb idea of ranked choice voting.

  13. R C V is about the dumbest idea yet ! Creating a “winner” through process of elimination is like a child’s game of musical chairs.

    MAINERS are smarter than that and now that they see how ridiculous it is will vote NO on #1.

  14. Mr. KSM appears to be confused about the effect of RCV on third parties. Since voters are able to vote for major and minor parties (as well as indepdents) in RCV, it’s more likely that chances for minor parties actually improve with RCV.

    A look at elections for the lower house in Australia, which has had RCV for 100 years, show that minor party candidates are elected from time to time, with substantial support from preference votes from major parties.

    Perhaps Mr. KSM meant to target the California and Washington “top two” primary, where the top two runoff in the general, regardless of party. That system does harm minor parties, and in several cases, results in Dem/Dem or Rep/Rep general elections.

    I understand if Mr. KSM is confused. A new voting system can be very confusing, but it does not do what he claims, and other than proportional representation, might be the best system for encouraging minor parties.

  15. RCV is literally unconstitutional, right now. 1 person, 1 vote.

    Take a look at who’s supporting this ‘change’…yet again, big big mysterious money from out of state.

    Vote NO on 1!

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