How Goes Maine, So Goes the Nation

$1.3 Million was spent to influence Maine voters on the the issue of Ranked Choice Voting. The bill passed and Maine become the first State in the Nation to institute this voting process. Now before we go further, let’s talk about what Ranked Choice Voting is…

Ranked choice voting is a method of ranking the candidates of your choice in order of your preference. In order to be elected to office, the candidate must reach 50 plus 1 percent of the vote. The candidate who reaches that mark wins the race. But what if it is a closely contested race and no candidate reaches the 50 plus 1 threshold to claim victory. That’s where Ranked Choice comes into play.

In the recent 2nd District race for Congress here in Maine, the two major candidates were Republican Congressman, Bruce Poliquin and his Democratic challenger, Jared Golden. Neither candidate, however,  reached the 50 plus1 percent of the vote to be declared winner. So in Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) we then turn to the “also ran” candidates to settle  the issue.

Previously, those votes cast for the candidates that were mathematically eliminated from the race in the first round of ballot counts were just thrown out, but now those ballots will be counted in a second round of counting when no candidate reaches the 50 plus 1 threshold. If you voted for one of the lesser candidates that was eliminated, your vote on that ballot for your second choice will now be added to the vote tally of that individual. This will keep going until one of the candidates reaches the 50 plus 1 threshold to win.

So let’s take a race, as was the case here in Maine, with four candidates on the ballot: A Republican, Democrat, Progressive and Independent. Progressives and Independents are by and large, liberal, so If you voted for the Progressive or Independent as your first choice….who do you suppose your second choice is likely to be?  The Democrat of course, and so your second choice for office, the democrat, will get your vote!  So is RCV fair? I think not. It is a system of voting that is designed to stack the deck against a Conservative candidate.

In the recent mid term elections, Maine’s Republican Congressman, Bruce Poliquin was challenged by Democrat, Jared Golden who is backed by Pelosi and the far left. Liberal organizations pumped millions into Golden’s campaign in hopes of unseating the Republican incumbent. This was the most expensive Congressional Campaign in the Country and keep in mind that Maine’s population is only around a million people. Poliquin received more votes than Jared Golden in the election. Sadly, though, that wasn’t enough to win because remember, the candidate needs 50 plus 1 percent of the vote to be declared winner. Neither of these candidates received the required 50 plus 1 percent of the vote and so the remaining 23,013 votes were assigned to the voters second choice candidate. This placed Golden over the 50 plus 1 percent of the required votes needed to be declared winner. Even though, after the votes were counted, the incumbent Republican Congressman, Bruce Poliquin received more votes, Golden received more second choice votes on the ballot than did Poliquin and…presto, Jared Golden wins and becomes the new Congressman representing Maine’s 2nd district.

Added questions to this skewed voting process come in the form of Article 1, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution:

“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing (sic) Senators.”

The sticking point seems to come from the word, “Manner,” and what the Founders meant by this word. I would argue that they were clearly referring to the way in which the electorate would show their support, either by a show of hands, or written ballot. I do not believe that ever in their wildest dreams would these learned and astute men who so meticulously hammered out the greatest Republic the wold has ever known, concoct a methodology of choosing a candidate that was so convoluted. They meant to give each and every American a voice and how he chose to use that voice was up to him; one man, one vote.

Bruce Poliquin has filed suit to challenge the Constitutionality of RCV and to retain his seat in the Congress. The case is set to be heard in Federal Court here in Bangor on December 4th. The judge has promised a decision before the December 14 deadline when all certified votes for office must be submitted to Congress by Maine’s Secretary of State. I do not have a great deal of faith that RCV will be overturned in Federal court. The result of this election should be placed on hold and the case fast tracked to the Supreme Court and the decision made there on its Constitutionality.

Remember Maine’s Motto is “Dirigo,” or “I lead.”

“How Goes Maine….So Goes the Nation!!!”

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash.

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