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!