I respectfully wish to disagree with Mr. Snow’s assertion in last week’s Lake Region Weekly as to the value of Ranked Choice Voting. While I do agree with him as to the importance of voting in the upcoming elections, I do not believe gimmicks, let alone unconstitutional gimmicks, are the answer. In fact, I believe Ranked Choice Voting actually could benefit someone who was destined for third place, allowing them to hop over a second place candidate. Perhaps that really is the purpose of this change?
In Ranked Choice Voting, the candidate getting the majority does win; if there is no majority winner than the ranked choice system would kick in. In voting you will rank all candidates, but if there is no majority than only some people’s second ballot choice is recounted. In a sense it destroys the idea of one person-one vote. If we accept some people’s first choice vote and some people’s second choice vote, I believe that does not seem to make sense from a study/data gathering perspective.
This idea violates the Maine Constitution twice. Ranked Choice Voting goes against the Maine Constitution in the plurality requirement (person with most votes wins) and in how the constitution deals with instant runoffs tabulating. Proponents say that Ranked Choice Voting is constitutional, but I hear they already have a plan to change the constitution if it passes, because it will surely cause costly and lengthy lawsuits.
Passing Ranked Choice Voting would make Maine the first state to fully go there. The costs to implement are estimated at $1.5 million dollars; I assume this will buy new machinery to count votes. What will Maine towns do who still use volunteers to count? What is that cost to those towns?
In closing you may remember above I suggested gimmicks were not the answer to Maine election issues, real or perceived election issues. Perhaps I would offer that the answer is simply for people to be involved in our governance, research the various candidates and make sure to vote. A recent article in the Washington Post said Maine was the best state for voter turnout. We can do better, but we are doing well. For these reasons I would suggest you vote no on the issue of Ranked Choice Voting.
Rep. Mike McClellan
Maine House 66