Maine Democrats Push Ideological Election Reforms at the Expense of Maine Cities and Towns

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ranked-choice-votingAUGUSTA – The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Monday heard testimony regarding several bills Democratic lawmakers are pushing to make severe — and costly changes to voting in Maine.

Two of the proposals would change Maine’s popular election system into a run-off election system, while two additional bills would enact ranked choice voting.

All four proposals will impose significant costs on the state and its municipalities and are designed to prevent candidates from winning elections with a plurality of the popular vote.

Sen. John Tuttle (D-York) has introduced L.D. 1358, An Act To Amend the Election Laws To Require a Run-off Election for Governor. Tuttle’s proposal, which is explicitly aimed at Blaine House contenders, is similar to Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos’s (U-Friendship) L.D. 1219, a bill that would establish a run-off electoral system for Maine’s gubernatorial and federal elections.

Sen. Richard Woodbury (D-Cumberland) and Rep. Diane Russel (D-Portland) have introduced, respectively, L.D. 518 and L.D. 860, a pair of proposals that would establish ranked-choice voting in Maine. Russel’s bill would extend to gubernatorial and state legislative elections, while Woodbury’s bill would apply to every candidate election held in the state.

In a run-off election, such as those Tuttle and Evangelos are proposing, two elections are held: The first election determines the top two candidates; the second asks voters to choose between those two.

For example, under the run-off election system, the 2010 gubernatorial general election would have been followed by a second election with only Governor LePage and Eliot Cutler on the ballot.

In a ranked-choice voting system, voters rank candidates according to their preferences and that information is used to simulate a run-off election.

All of the proposals have received significant co-sponsorship from the Democratic Party. Russel’s bill (L.D. 860) has 49 co-sponsors.

Practically-speaking, these proposals, if passed, would prevent a certain 2014 independent gubernatorial candidate from “spoiling” the Democrats chance to oust Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage. 

While none of the four proposals have fiscal notes at present, the potential changes could double or even triple the cost of administering elections in Maine towns and across the state.

So at the same time Democrats are protesting cuts to revenue-sharing agreements between the state and its municipalities, they are also pursuing ideological election reforms for which Maine’s cities and towns will foot the bill.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. More foolishness from the Dems and their shadow members like Woodbury. It looks like the side that can get the most people to vote for their strongest candidate and the other sides weakest one will have the best chance to win. Essentially what we have now only at double or triple the cost. Another great idea to waste tax dollars by our dedicated moon bat opposition.

  2. ttp://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-24/politics/36528394_1_electoral-votes-votes-by-congressional-district-electoral-college – – Cached – Similar pages.
    Jan 24, 2013… The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans…. the third state to adopt the congressional district system, after Nebraska and Maine…. at defying the will of the voters, giving Republican presidential candidates most of…
    DNC slams GOP’s electoral vote rigging scheme – Washington Post.

  3. shows how the right is snookered by low voter mis-information-states that have run off elections requiring 50% of the vote do more for their voters and less for the lobbyists.

  4. This is the biggest pile of crock article, I can’t believe people blantely write half-truths. This system does not cost municipalities anything more than what they currently spend on elections. IRV is counted by volunteers, much like our current votes are tabulated, and it requires ONE election. It isn’t meant to benefit either of the large parties, it benefits independent and third party candidates who are currently considered a “wasted vote” (and aren’t millionaires, ie: Cutler, King). Some of the stuff this site publishes is just utter bullsh$t.

  5. I’m not a fan of run-off elections and that would increase costs. However ranked-choice voting is a great way to give people the ability to support 3rd party candidates without worry of so-called “wasting” a vote. Very surprised but pleased to see either of the 2 main political parties supporting ranked choice voting, it may be the only way for the people to break the stranglehold of the 2-party system.

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