Opinion

Restore sanity by repealing ranked-choice voting

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Word this week of a campaign to block use of ranked-choice voting in Maine’s 2020 Presidential election, and to instead allow the people of Maine to vote on repealing RCV, is warm news on a cold winter day.

 

“One person, one vote is a bedrock American principle. Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a direct violation of that principle and threatens the rights of all Mainers and de-legitimatizes our election process,” said Maine Republican Party Chair Dr. Demi Kouzounas in a Feb. 4, 2020 press release.

 

The Maine GOP is leading the signature gathering effort. They will need the signatures of 63,000 valid Maine voters to have a RCV repeal question placed on Maine’s November 2020 ballot. Experienced signature gatherers always want several thousand extra signatures to guard against any signatures found invalid by town and city clerks, or signature sheets tossed out for some infraction by Maine’s Secretary of State.

 

In my Nov. 28, 2018 column, “Ranked choice voting means my vote doesn’t count,” I wrote about the two voting systems Maine used that Election Day.

 

“The system used for deciding Maine’s Governor, all members of the Maine Legislature, the several county races (i.e. Registrar of Deeds), even Bond Issues, was the traditional whoever-gets-the-most-votes-wins (plurality) system.

 

“However, the voting system used for candidates for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives — federal government office holders —was Ranked Choice Voting,” I wrote.

 

Originally meant to strike at a broad base of elected offices in Maine, RCV in 2018, thanks to a court advisory opinion, was limited in scope. As explained by a Lewiston Sun Journal reporter, “[RCV] is used for primary elections for governor and the Legislature, but it is not applied to statewide general elections because the Maine Constitution states that general elections are to be decided by a plurality, not majority, vote, according to a Maine Supreme Judicial Court advisory opinion issued in 2017.”

 

RCV’s 2018 limitations didn’t make it any less noxious to the one man/one vote principle. Directly so in 2018 to Maine’s U.S. Congressional races. Four candidates were on the 2nd Congressional District ballot in 2018. Incumbent Congressman Bruce Poliquin and three challengers: Tiffany Bond, Will Hoar, and Jared Golden.

 

Congressman Poliquin had the support of 1,500 more voters than did his opponents. He won a plurality of voter support, not a majority. So RCV kicked in, votes of the three losing candidates were mixed-and-matched, some were thrown out, and when the cauldron steam settled, Poliquin was no longer Maine’s 2nd Congressional District Congressman.

 

Why should the government pressure us into voting for candidates for whom we don’t want to vote, don’t want in office? Yet, that’s exactly what happens under ranked-choice voting.

 

In 2019 the Maine Legislature applied RCV to the upcoming 2020 US Presidential election.

 

The signature gathering campaign to give voters the opportunity to repeal RCV, reinstating one man/one vote, is an appeal to voter sanity.

 

“It has become abundantly clear that the people of Maine must take the power of elections back into their own hands and restore faith and constitutionality into our electoral system,” said Dr. Kouzounas in her press release. “Over the next several months Mainers from Kittery to Fort Kent will be working to repeal RCV from being used in our Presidential Elections and finally begin the process of restoring Maine’s elections to their traditional form.”

 

Collecting signatures for ballot issues is work. No doubt. If there was ever an activity where the old adage, many hands make light work, applies — it’s with ballot signature collecting. If you, or someone you know, would like to lend your hands to this work, you can get started on the campaign website: RepealRankedChoice.com

 

Unchecked, the Left will fidget, bend, and twist Maine election law, all under a cry of “Fairness!,” until one day we won’t recognize our election law because there will be nothing fair about it.

 

Scott K. Fish has served as a communications staffer for Maine Senate and House Republican caucuses, and was communications director for Senate President Kevin Raye. He founded and edited AsMaineGoes.com and served as director of communications/public relations for Maine’s Department of Corrections. He now works in the private sector.

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