Ranked Choice Voting is not a Liberal or Democrat “conspiracy”. It is nonpartisan.
RCV is simply a method, invented in 1871, of giving voters a way of expressing their preference among a crowded field of three or more candidates, and to conduct an Instant Runoff Election with a single ballot (saving time, resources, and money versus an actual runoff election) if no candidate wins a majority in the initial round of tabulation.
The current accusations by entrenched Republican elites in Maine does not change these facts. I recently attended a presentation by Dental Hygienist and Maine State Representative Heather Sirocki of Scarborough, who opposes RCV, despite Scarborough voters preferring RCV by 6706 to 5754 in the November 2016 election. Alas, Representatives who don’t actually represent is not new to politics.
She and other Republican leaders, sadly and apparently afraid of actually needing to convince the majority of Mainers to support their candidates and policies, have decided to now oppose RCV.
Republicans introduced RCV in Alaska and Utah. Right wing conservatives pushed for it nationwide, in 1919, in Australia, where it has been used successfully for 100 years.
In Maine, in 2007, LD 585 was introduced in the legislature to enact RCV in Maine with five Republican and five Democrat co-sponsors.
35% of Republican voters supported RCV in November 2016 according to a Portland Press Herald Poll at the time.
But suddenly, now some Republicans claim RCV is a conspiracy, and insist plurality/minority winners are just fine.
This is quite ironic, since if the Republicans didn’t use multiple rounds of balloting, and allowed plurality winners, the “Party of Lincoln” would never have had Abraham Lincoln! He only won at the Republican Convention of 1860 in the third round of balloting. If plurality winners had been the rule then, William Seward of New York would have won, and we would have never had one of our greatest presidents!
Continuing with irony, the Republican Party of Maine picks its leadership with a multi-round runoff election system with the candidate with the least number of votes being eliminated each round. So apparently, what’s good for the leadership, is not good for the rank-and-file according to the Republican elites in Maine. This is the wording from their own Rules of the Maine Republican Party:
“2.3(c) In each officer election if, on the first ballot, no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the candidate receiving the least number of votes shall be eliminated and a second round of voting will be held. Balloting shall continue in this manner until one candidate receives a majority vote.”
Sadly, due to the crass partisan politics of the times we live in, and desperate Republican elites who believe that they can’t win majorities in Maine, operatives are spreading deceptive misinformation about RCV. Those entrenched politicians are so terrified of having to actually appeal to more voters, they now believe they can ONLY win if they game and break the system. Frankly, this is an embarrassing position for party leaders to take.
These Republican elites insult the intelligence and choices of the majority of Mainers who voted for RCV and signed the petitions for a People’s Veto when the Maine Legislature attempted to bury RCV instead of enacting it.
Despite the fact that RCV and the subsequent People’s Veto were supported and advocated for by thousands of unpaid volunteers (I know, I was one) and passed with one of the lowest dollars spent per yes votes received of any initiative (an indicator of grass roots support), they now raise the spectre of “outside money and influence”, (I am surprised they could say that with a straight face, and in English instead of Russian).
Republicans legislators refused to put forward in front of voters, the technical change to the Maine Constitution that could clearly and unequivocally have allowed for the method that RCV uses to determine the winning candidate.
The Republicans claim RCV is unconstitutional, falsely claiming that a non-binding advisory opinion of the court on the matter is a ruling of constitutionality. It is not. They do this while completely ignoring the history of Maine which caused Mainers to change our Constitution in 1880, which was about legislative malfeasance and not a lack of desire by Maine voters to have candidates win with majorities.
Instead of using the opinion of the court as the motivation to make the necessary technical changes, they ignored the voters and Maine history, and used the same old partisan shenanigans to protect narrow partisan interests.
They brazenly advocate against democracy to insist minority/plurality candidates, who earn less than 40% of the vote, opposed by 60% or more of voters, are somehow good for us all. Then they crassly support candidates they are ideologically opposed to so they may serve as spoilers to split opposition voters. Republicans have also resorted to gerrymandering districts with heretofore unknown levels of precision with modern technology, and using a variety of voter suppression tactics.
Republicans were rightfully against those things when they accused Democrats of using them, but now they wholeheartedly embrace them. These actions are hypocritical and disgraceful, and do not serve the long term interests of our state and nation, and sadly, they don’t serve the Republican party either, with shortsighted opposition to improvements that RCV offers all of us.
What goes around comes around, and Republicans would be wise to take a longer term view and support the improvements that RCV offers We the People, and ALL parties.
We all need to stand against partisan shenanigans on both sides to reclaim our government. RCV is the best chance we have for that, no matter what side of the political spectrum you live on.
Support a More Perfect Union, I encourage Maine voters to Vote Yes on Question One on June 12th, or vote now with an absentee ballot!