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Thu Jun 29, 2017, 07:20 AM

 

Ranked Choice Voting repeal effort is killed in the Maine Legislature.

Yesterday the effort to repeal the Ranked Choice Voting referendum was killed in the legislature. The House had voted to stop the repeal. The Senate voted for the repeal. These were party line votes. R's of course voted to repeal the will of the voters. So what happens is the repeal effort dies in non-concurrance. The R's refused to come to a conference committee to strike a compromise on this which is what the Dems wanted and begged them to do.

Hundreds of us lobbied to stop the repeal and for the constitutional fix which would have fixed the referendum law to allow for state elections to be included in the law. The problem there was the state supreme court issued an opinion saying that state elections could be won with a mere plurality on the first count and therefore the ranked choice process conflicted with the constitution but ONLY for those three state races of state house, state senate, and governor. All other races covered under the ranked choice voting law are entirely constitutional. These include primary elections for state and federal offices and the federal offices for congress in general elections. Traditional first-past-the-post elections will remain for local and county level elections. So we had the vote on making the small fix to the constitution, and the R's of course refused that so we couldn't get the 2/3 majority needed to make that happen.

The compromise would have been to suspend ranked choice voting for the three races with constitutional problems and allow it to go forward for the other races thereby following the will of the voters while respecting the court's advisory opinion. Again, the Dems begged the Republicans to compromise and they totally refused.

What this means is that the referendum law will go into effect for the 2018 elections, and, if there is still no constitutional fix by that time, there will likely be a lawsuit challenging the results of some of the three state races found to be constitutionally problematic. Then the court will strike those results and officially strike the state races from the law, and we will need to have re-votes for those races.

All that had to happen here is for the Republicans to stop being totally RADICAL and either agree to the constitutional fix or agree to a compromise to suspend the state races from the law while allowing Ranked Choice Voting for the remaining races under the law. Easy. But do you think they would do this? Of course not. Why? Because they are indeed RADICAL IDEOLOGUES who on this referendum and others are trying to overturn the will of the voters just because they don't like it. They are doing the same thing on the education funding law passed by voters in November. Disgusting.

Imagine if Democrats were trying to repeal referendums that were particularly conservative in nature. The Republicans would be screaming bloody murder. They need to stop their typical hypocrisy. Completely overturning referendums is virtually unprecedented. It has only happened once, and that was on something found ENTIRELY unconstitutional, not just partially.

Let me also say for the record that the leaders of the Ranked Choice Voting campaign vetted the referendum question on this, and constitutional scholars did advise that they thought it would not conflict with the state constitution mainly because any reading of the term "plurality" must also include a majority which is the goal of Ranked Choice Voting. However, the state supreme court opined that under the language of our constitution a MERE plurality on a first vote was sufficient for the three state level elections. Leaders of the ranked choice voting campaign were honestly surprised by the ruling. However, they respect it and were entirely willing to accept a modification of the law because of it.

But thank you Democrats and Independents in the Maine legislature for standing strong on Ranked Choice Voting. It is the will of the voters. !!!

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