“The first step in saving our liberty is to realize how much we have already lost, how we lost it and how we will continue to lose it unless fundamental political changes occur.”
James Bovard, libertarian author and lecturer
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Maine Supreme Court decided that the citizen initiative approving ranked-choice voting was unconstitutional according to the Maine State Constitution. The decision was based on the fact that the Maine Constitution states that candidates win an election on plurality of votes so the one with the most votes wins although they might not have won the majority of all votes. I have always believed in the principle of one person, one vote. I also believe that ranked-choice voting would allow the political party with the majority of registered voters in a particular town or state to have enough candidates of that party to ensure a win over the candidates from other political parties.
The thing I find funny is the decision by the Maine Supreme Court explains that the state Legislature has a few choices. The Legislature now can vote to turn down the citizen initiative that would have allowed it, or it can begin the process necessary to change the state Constitution to allow for ranked-choice voting. The legislators also could choose to simply allow the citizen initiative to stand and then wait for lawsuits if somebody sued the state for allowing an election allowing citizens to use the ranked-choice method of voting.
If I comprehend correctly, ranked-choice voting would still be allowed in the city of Portland because the city charter was modified to allow for it. It has been used by other cities in our country and in one a candidate campaigned on being No. 2 and actually gained enough votes to win although not winning the majority of No. 1 votes. For me that misconstrues the whole purpose of our voting system. I did read several articles that concluded Trump would have lost the election to Clinton if ranked-choice voting was allowed at the national level. It is used for presidential candidates in Australia and Ireland and the best I could find, 11 cities in the United States, all of them considered liberal. That is what reinforces my idea why it passed in Portland.
The citizen initiative for ranked-choice voting passed in Maine by 52-48 percent, not a huge margin of victory but still a winner. I question how many voters really knew what it meant along with who made it a citizen’s initiative in the first place. I can attest to how many truly uninformed voters Maine has just by the fact that some know absolutely nothing about candidates and issues on the ballot. Probably what bothers me even more is the out-of-state money that pours into the coffers of citizen initiatives without most of us really knowing that happens. I know that upsets some of our state legislators but that just might be because it means they know not what they do. It’s what they are doing to us, especially our wallets. Or it might just be because they are doing nothing for us.
I have to wonder how ranked-choice voting would do for approving a municipal or school budget. Just imagine if voters had the choice of voting for one of several budget proposals. Let’s just say voters get one proposed budget the same as last year’s budget, a couple of budgets lower and a couple of more even higher. Maybe the best proposal would be to only allow for a budget increase that matches the cost-of-living increase for that year. Recipients of Social Security are being hit hard once again with little or no increases while municipal budget increases are proposed from around 3 percent to 13 percent in municipalities in and around Windham.
During the Windham Town Council meeting of last week, two councilors mentioned they attended a conference about TIF (tax increment financing). Maybe they don’t care more tax money will be pilfered from taxpayers.
Lane Hiltunen of Windham has possibly been somewhat rank at some point.