Commentary

Question 5: Changing the Game

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In November of 2014, Governor Paul LePage (R) won re-election to his post as the Governor of the state of Maine by a mere 29,408 votes in a three-way race. After suffering a loss to “America’s most vulnerable gubernatorial seat,” the Democratic Party of Maine licked their wounds and vowed never to be beaten by such close margins again.

Rather than providing a better candidate, liberals are making an attempt to change the rules of the game so they have a better shot at success in the next election cycle. The only problem here is that there is a victim; true American democracy.

Ranked Choice Voting will force voters to rank each candidate on the ballot in their order of their preference. If a candidate wins, but does not receive at least 50% of the vote, then the loser is dropped off the ballot and the votes are tabulated again and so on until a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the remaining ballots (not 50 percent of total votes cast).

As if it wasn’t enough to apply this process to the gubernatorial campaign, if enacted, it would apply to all races at the state and federal level, including U.S. senators and U.S. representatives.

What this amounts to is that Question 5, the Maine Ranked Choice Voting Initiative, is nothing more than an attempt at forced political compromise. It puts a halt to traditional voting in which the winner wins and second place concedes. By virtually eliminating the ability of Maine citizens to stand firmly behind their candidate, we are doing the opposite of providing more “choices” for them; we are instead stripping them away.

According to the Portland Press Herald (who supports the measure), our political and economic future can be related to something as simple as ice cream. “It’s the kind of decision that everybody makes every day of their lives. If you ever wanted strawberry ice cream but the store had only chocolate and vanilla, you ranked your choice by buying one of the other flavors or by skipping ice cream altogether. There is no trick to it.”

But this measure would be detrimental to our system of politics, and be no more than a symbolic “participation trophy” to candidates that cannot gain enough traction on their own and need a little nudge. Though liberals have claimed that this is a way to better engage third party candidates, it is obviously a short term fix to winning local and state elections.

This November do not take Question 5 lightly, as it has been overshadowed by Questions 1 (Marijuana Legalization) and 3 (Firearm Background Checks).

The issue of Ranked-Choice Voting is the most important referendum on the ballot because it is in direct conflict with the voice of the voter and will forever change Maine politics.

There are currently no other states in the Union using this method, which should really tell you all you need of how well it works.

By showing up in November and casting your ballot, you’ll be exercising real choice.

About Dominic DeLuca

Dominic DeLuca is currently a Junior in the Environmental Science program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. He serves as Chairman of the University of Maine at Fort Kent College Republicans, and as Treasurer of the Maine Federation of College Republicans.

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