1/8/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,
Elections should be easy. The candidate with the most votes wins.
But an effort led by Leftist organizations and out-of-state money seeks to complicate the process and steal ballot-box victories.
There is currently a major petition drive to put the failed policy of Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) on the ballot yet again when voters head to the primaries this June.
If they collect enough signatures by February, the June primaries will be held under RCV rules — even if voters reject RCV on the June ballot!
RCV has already been scrapped by several cities that have tried it. Those municipalities found the faulty system to be costly, confusing and linked to low voter turnout.
Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough is widely considered one of Maine’s foremost experts on the dangers of RCV. According to Rep. Sirocki, RCV threatens our Representative Republic.
“This issue strikes at the core of our Constitution and violates my oath of office,” Rep. Sirocki said. “The people we elect to represent us are vital to the future of the state and to the republic to which we pledge allegiance. Trying to rig the system to elect certain types of candidates is not fair and it is not legal. This blatant disregard for our Constitution and the Rule of Law is deeply and profoundly troubling to me.”
Maine became the first state in the country to pass RCV, when the faulty referendum was voted-in by a 52-48 margin in November 2016 — thanks to millions of dollars of mostly out-of-state spending. Maine First Media will dive deeper into the dark money behind RCV later in this report.
However, as Republican Rep. Beth O’Connor of Berwick points out, the Maine Supreme Court rightly found RCV to be unconstitutional.
“My first concern about ranked-choice voting is that it has been determined to be unconstitutional by Maine’s Attorney General as well as the opinion of Maine’s Supreme Court,” Rep. O’Connor said. “If we allow ranked-choice voting to be passed by a simple majority vote in the State of Maine, then there is no reason for law, but a clear path for anarchy.”
Under RCV, instead of voting for the one candidate of your choice for each race on the ballot, voters would have to rank their choices. This sets up an instant-runoff process. If no single candidate receives a majority of first-place votes, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. The votes cast for the rejected candidate would be re-examined, and the second-place votes would be awarded. This would go on-and-on, supposedly, until one candidate has a majority. As Maine First Media will highlight later in this report, the outcome of this process often leads to a winner who received less than 50% — rendering the entire expensive process moot.
But the Maine Constitution specifically allows statewide offices to be elected with a plurality of the votes.
Last session, the Maine Legislature voted to delay implementation of the unconstitutional law until 2022, while lawmakers work on amendments.
RCV advocates wasted no time, filing for “the people’s veto” to be on the ballot four days after the legislature voted on the delay.
The people’s veto is unique to Maine, allowing voters to repeal recently passed legislation through a referendum.
However, RCV supporters would need to collect 61,123 VALID signatures 90-days before the end of the second session — marking early February as the target deadline.
As of November, RCV Maine has collected about half the required signatures.
Maine, of course, is known for its support of third-party candidates. In fact, one of our Senators is, unfortunately, Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Maine Democrats often complain the success of third-party candidates costs them elections. They believe if the third-party candidates weren’t an option, the votes going to those third parties would instead go to them.
That’s why Democrats look at RCV as a survival battle.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage has been a guiding force for Maine, ushering in welfare reform, vetoing many pieces of harmful legislation and so much more.
However, Democrats argue LePage doesn’t have the will of the people behind him — despite receiving more gubernatorial votes than any other candidate in the history of our great state.
In 2014, Gov. LePage won re-election with 48.2% of the total votes cast. His Democrat challenger, Mike Michaud received 43.4% of the vote in his losing effort.
Democrats argue, if not for the 8.4% of the vote Independent Leftist Eliot Cutler received, Michaud would have won. However, that assumes Cutler voters would have otherwise voted for Michaud. When in reality, many Cutler voters would have simply stayed home rather than vote for a candidate they didn’t fully support.
The fact is, LePage beat Michaud by nearly 30,000 votes. Cutler only received a little more than 50,000 votes. Meaning more than 60% of Cutler voters would have had to swing to Michaud to change the election results.
What RCV is really about is Democrat politicians stealing money from Mainers in an attempt to win more elections for their hand-picked swamp creatures.
As Rep. O’Connor points out, voters had no idea how much RCV would cost when they cast their ballots back in November 2016.
“Maine is a poor State, yet the proponents of ranked-choice voting made sure the cost to implement this was not on the ballot question,” Rep. O’Connor said. “The equipment alone is estimated to cost $1.5-Million and who knows how much for manhours to count, recount ballots in small towns that already struggle to balance their budgets on a shoestring. Those costs are probably minor when one considers the certainty of court challenges because once again, it is not Constitutional.”
Beyond cost and Constitutionality concerns, there is the simple fact RCV is a failed system.
RCV has been tried and subsequently repealed in the following municipalities:
- Burlington, Vermont;
- Aspen, Colorado;
- Cary, North Carolina;
- Pierce County, Washington.
North Carolina has also repealed RCV for Judicial races.
Telluride, Colorado will discontinue use of RCV after the next election.
Meanwhile, repeal efforts are underway in both Oakland and San Francisco, California.
And voters in these places have also rejected RCV:
- Fort Collins, Colorado;
- Duluth, Minnesota;
- Glendale, Arizona;
- The United Kingdom.
The program is being scrapped because, despite high costs, it simply doesn’t work.
As Rep. Sirocki points out, in Portland’s 2011 RCV mayoral election, 19,728 voters cast ballots for 15 candidates. The winner, Michael Brennan — now former Portland Mayor who has filed as a Welfare for Politicians candidate for the House in the 36th district — received 9,061 votes, after 14 rounds of tabulations. That’s just 45.9% of all votes cast. Clearly shy of a majority, as RCV is supposed to guarantee. After all, that’s supposedly the point of the process. But 54% of Portland voters did NOT want this “winner.”
Here’s an even more stark example Rep. Sirocki provides.
In an election for San Francisco’s District 10, 18,503 voters cast ballots using ranked-choice voting. The winner, after 19 recounts, received just 4,321 votes. Meaning 75% of the voters voted AGAINST the winner.
And thanks to the confusing nature of RCV, fewer people are voting. Fewer voters means fewer residents have a say over the policies that govern them.
How did this failed system come to Maine? Largely through the work of out-of-state dark money, an organizer from Georgia and a discredited, radical Leftist organization.
Within Maine, the Marxist Pedophile Authority (or so-called Maine People’s Alliance) — an organization that allows convicted pedophiles to volunteer around children and who’s staffers steal money while going door-to-door — is the leading voice in favor of the election-stealing RCV referendum.
The other Leftist activist group behind RCV is The Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting, RCV Maine. The group is led by Kyle Bailey — from Georgia!
However, Bailey began his political activism in our Pine Tree State in 2010 as Development Director for Maine Equality, an advocacy organization pushing for the LGBTQRSXYZ agenda in Maine.
In 2012, Bailey moved up to Finance Director for Mainers for United Marriage, the campaign to legalize gay marriage in Maine.
Before that, Bailey worked for other gay rights advocacy groups in Georgia, including Youth Pride and Georgia Equality.
But Bailey isn’t the only out-of-state force pushing RCV down the throats of Mainers.
During the 2016 RCV campaign, zero dollars were spent opposing RCV as it flew under the radar. However, $3-Million was paid to pass the disastrous referendum. Most of the money came from out of state.
Bailey’s Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting spent more than half of a million dollar on the campaign.
Another of the leading financial supporters was the Chamberlain Project PAC, which received large sums of money from out-of-state donations. For example, a $50,000 contribution from a couple in Houston, Texas.
Also out of Houston was the $470,000 spent in favor of RCV in Maine by the Houston advocacy organization Action Now Initiative.
Fair Vote, a national organization, based in Maryland spent nearly $375,000 passing RCV in Maine.
Another national group, the Committee to Elect an Independent Senate, based just outside of the swamp of Washington D.C. in Alexandria, Virginia, contributed almost $75,000 to the RCV effort in Maine.
And these numbers only include direct expenditures, NOT in-kind contributions — which would raise the amount of out-of-state spending by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Rep. O’Connor says the idea of RCV providing voters with the candidate of their choice is nothing more than a fantasy propagated by out-of-state dark money.
“Maine was purchased by a small and vocal minority with a lot of out of state funding and misinformation,” Rep. O’Connor said. “The truth is that elections will continue to be won by independent expenditures and big money unless we the people start demanding more than lip service from politicians and paying attention to their actions and how they actually affect hard-working taxpayers as a whole. And when they fail to deliver on their promises, our first priority should be to come together and oust them with a simple majority.”
Rep. Sirocki says RCV makes voting more complicated when the goal should be to make it more accountable.
“The voters I have spoken to do not understand how this (RCV) works,” Rep. Sirocki said. “The voters I have spoken with DO understand: the person with the most votes wins. Period.”
Remember, if the roughly 60,000 signatures are collected by the February deadline, RCV will be in effect for the June primaries, even if the people’s veto referendum fails on the June ballot.
That could make for an expensive mess with ten Democrats, five Republicans, two Green Party candidates, a Libertarian and six independents all already declared in the growing field.
As an alternative to RCV, some have pitched a jungle primary, much like the ones used in many southern states. This method would pit all candidates from all parties in a general election contest. If no candidate receives a clear majority of the vote, then the two highest vote-getters, regardless of party, would meet in a runoff election.
However, Maine First Media doesn’t see a problem with the existing plurality rules. The current system of whoever gets the most votes wins, seems simple, fair and like the American way.
If a paid signature collector pesters you to sign the RCV petition, remember the bottom line on RCV: it’s an out-of-state effort! It’s led by radical Leftists from out-of-state, championed by a criminal Maine agitation group, paid for by out-of-state dark money; all in an attempt to force a failed system that raises costs, confuses voters, drives down turnout and violates the constitution; with the sole aim of stealing elections away from the will of the people of Maine.