Maine Bill for Ranked-Choice Voting Finally Introduced

The Maine bill that would provide for Ranked-Choice Voting for statewide races, both federal and state, is now introduced and is LD 518. Thanks to Rob Richie for this news.


Maine Bill for Ranked-Choice Voting Finally Introduced — No Comments

  1. It makes no sense to keep the primaries if voters can rank all the candidates. The sponsors may be reacting to the 2010 gubernatorial race. That is, the problem that they are trying to solve is: how do we solve the problem of a minor party spoiler like Libby Mitchell; rather than the more general problem of how to elect officers.

    Petition requirements to get on a primary ballot are half that to get on the general election ballot as an independent, so you could simply let all candidates collect the number required for a primary ballot.

    I think it would violate equal protection to limit the number of write-in candidates that a voter may vote for beyond limiting them to the number of declared write-in candidates. Maine requires declaration of write-in candidacy 45 days ahead of the election, so there should be no problem printing enough spaces on the ballot.

    Alternatively, eliminate write-in candidacies. If a candidate can’t meet the fairly modest petition requirements in Maine, they aren’t going to be able to organize a campaign well enough to get elected.

    Since the voters will be marking numerals on paper ballots, there is no reason to limit the number of candidates they may rank.

    Or if there are concerns about voters having to rank a large number of candidates, hold a primary and let candidates with a certain cumulative share of the vote (say 80%) advance to the general election. You could allow write-ins in the primary, but not the general election. If you wished, you could permit non-qualifying candidates coalesce their votes so that one might qualify, and you could permit non-qualifying candidates and new candidates to qualify by petition by securing signatures from non-primary voters to match the vote total of the last qualifying candidate.

    If there is a restriction on voter rankings, then the statute should provide for a runoff whenever the number of exhausted ballots would prevent elimination of any candidates if they were attributed to the last-place continuing candidate. All continuing candidates at that point would appear on the runoff ballot.

    The recount provisions really need to provide for handling close counts in all rounds. The current provisions in statute are really pretty silly. You don’t need a recount when there is a 10% difference, even if someone is willing to put up the $deposit$.

    There is no reason not to use the same system for presidential elector as you do for governor or representative in congress. You wouldn’t even have to bother with the national parties. There is no problem with having Obama and Clinton or Romney and Santorum and Paul on the general election ballot.

    The Maine House would be a good use of actual STV. The body is large (151 members, given the size of the state population). Districts have about 9,000 people and perhaps 5,000 votes cast. Equal population concerns, may force odd-splits in rather small towns.

  2. #3 Tony Williams, former Mayor of DC, had crooks and morons running his petition drive to get on the Democratic primary ballot. His petitions had cartoonishly amateurish fraud and he failed to get on the ballot. Williams ran a write-in campaign and easily won the Democratic primary and then cruised to re-election in the general.

  3. Maine ballot access requirements are not “fairly modest”. Maine is one of only seven states with a Democratic-Republican monopoly on the 2012 ballot for U.S. House. No minor party candidate for U.S. House in Maine has been on the ballot since 2004. Many important minor party presidential candidates have been kept off the Maine ballot, including Bob Barr in 2008, Ralph Nader in 2004, Congressman John Schmitz in 1972, and David Bergland in 1984. Maine has the most restrictive ballot access law in the nation for candidates who are trying to get on the primary ballot of a small qualified party. That is why the Green Party has never been able to run a candidate for US House in Maine in the years it has been a qualified party.

  4. For single offices — IRV = THE method to get Stalin/Hitler clones when the muddled mystified middle is divided.

    34 H–M–S
    33 S–M–H
    16 M–H–S
    16 M–S–H

    Gee – who has a mere 99 of 99 votes in 1st+2nd place votes ???
    Gee – who beats the other two in head to head math ???

    Gee — are the few remaining MMM folks still divided since 1964 ???

    Thus – pending head to head math — Approval Voting for executive / judicial offices.
    P.R. for legislative bodies.

  5. #5 To get on the primary ballot for US House in Maine is 1000 signatures. To get on the primary ballot for US Senate in Maine is 2000 signatures. The requirement for independent senate candidates in Maine is twice that, 4000 signatures. In 2012, there were 4 independent senate candidates. Since there are two congressional districts, they could have qualified for a US representative race, were it not below their dignity.

    And I suggested that that number be cut in half.

    Since candidates would not be running as the anointees/nominees of a party, there would not be any reason to restrict signatures to those enrolled in a party.

    Don’t you find it offensive to refer to a candidate as being run by a party? A rancher runs cattle.

    For the senate race in 2012, there were 4 Democrats, 2 Republicans, and 4 independents (two of the independent candidates had slogans/party names). If you are going to have ranked ballots, why not let the voters rank all 10 candidates. Why have restricted participation races to choose a few candidates by plurality, and then have a race that is intended to permit voters to rank “all” candidates to achieve a majority.

  6. To analyze Maine ballot access, one needs to consider the terribly cumbersome procedures for collecting the signatures, then trying to coax the town clerks into checking them, then picking them up again and getting them to the Secretary of State’s office. Also the limits on who can sign, a big problem for primary petitions. Why do you think Maine has not had any minor party candidates for US House since 2004? Only three other states are in that category.

  7. #4 When Tony Williams was seeking re-nomination in 2002, his major opponent was also a write-in candidate. It is conceivable that he would have lost a contest against a serious an on-ballot candidate, particularly if voters were prevented from ranking more than one write-in candidate.

    Do you see any rational reason why a voter should be permitted to rank only a single write-in candidate, but all of the on-ballot candidates?

    And if you needed a screening device to limit the number of candidates that can be ranked, use the primary to reduce the field, and permit write-ins there.

    The problem is that the people proposing the changes in Maine are attempting to solve the “problem” of Paul LePage defeating Eliot Cutler because of minor party spoiler Libby Mitchell, rather than trying to develop a better electoral system.

  8. #8 It is the Maine folks who are proposing to maintain partisan nominations and grafting IRV on top of it. “You can rank anyone as long as they aren’t Green, nor more than one write-in candidates, and you can’t rank all of the Democratic and Republican candidates.”

    Maine would make their system more rational by requiring candidates to rub their belly and pat their head, or import Illinois election laws in toto.

    (1) If ALL candidates could run on the same ballot, there would be no reason to require candidates to collect signatures from party members. There was an independent candidate for the US House in 2006, and he had to collect twice as many signatures as I have proposed. And there have been several independent candidates who have qualified for the senate ballot, with twice again as many signatures.

    Why have there been more independent senate candidates than independent house candidates??? It surely can’t be because candidates must collect twice as many signatures to run for senate.

  9. #11 It is the party bosses who are fixated with running candidates, maybe they are failed trail bosses.

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