What voting “YES ON ONE”, Ranked Choice Voting, means in the June primaries.

June 2018 What voting “YES ON ONE”, Ranked Choice Voting, means in the June primaries.

A “YES ON ONE” vote keeps the current RCV law that only elects representatives who get a majority of the vote. A “NO ON ONE” vote reverts to electing representatives with only a minority of the vote.

RCV was approved 3 times (2 petitions and 1 election) by Mainers and is clearly the voting system an overwhelming majority of Maine voters want. A Yes On One vote will make RCV permanent. The first part of the question asks; “Do you want to “reject” the parts of a new law that would delay the use of ranked-choice voting?” The rest just summarizes the delay and repeal law. Clearly worded the question would read “Do you want to keep the current RCV law that elects representatives with a majority of the vote?” It really is that simple. Vote Yes On One to have more choice in electing who represents you.

All registered voters, including Independents and those who register on Election Day, can vote on Question One. Independents, 36% of Maine voters, overwhelmingly support RCV. Independents, want your voice heard? Get out and vote “Yes On One” to ensure RCV passes.

Arthur Brooks, CEO of the Conservative think tank American Enterprise Institution said in a recent interview that “70% of Americans are dismayed at what is going on in this country. They don’t like the polarization, bitterness, disrespect, hatred, and contempt” they see in politics today. “We are all looking for better leaders and we must stand up to the politicians on our own side” who promote polarization, disrespect and contempt.

RCV will: Reduce political polarization, disrespect and contempt, prevent wide political shifts from far right to far left every 4 years, elect representatives who have support from a majority of the voters, encourage politicians to campaign on issues so you, the voter, will know who the candidate is and how they plan to support your values, reduce negative campaigning because politicians know trashing your first choice candidate will not encourage you to make them your second choice candidate.

RCV will NOT: Force you to vote for someone you don’t like just to keep their opponent from getting elected, negate you and your friends vote if you support different but similar candidates, known as splitting the vote, thereby helping the candidate neither of you like to get elected, elect representatives with only 35% of the vote when 65% of the people didn’t vote for that candidate, polarize elections making the polling place feel like a war zone where your relatives, friends and neighbors become the enemy because they didn’t vote for your candidate, and it will not favor your candidate simply because of their party affiliation.

Former Republican State Senator Peter Mills supports RCV because “It would improve the likelihood that you would be nominating your strongest candidate for office in the general election, which would strengthen (your party’s candidate in the November election). I ask you, what party does not want to elect their strongest candidate?

Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, commented that: “A lot of the opposition we’ve seen to RCV (from) the Legislature is rooted in opposition to citizen referenda in general, but the Maine Constitution explicitly says that our power as legislators is derived from the people and clearly lays out the citizen’s referendum and people’s veto processes” and “I simply disagree that the Legislature knows better than the collective will of the voters.”

Some politicians oppose RCV because they will have to work harder to get elected. RCV requires politicians to get 50% of the vote and to do that a candidate needs to understand and campaign on values and ideas that resonate with a broader segment of the voters. This is not easy to do. Think of how you may struggle to understand the values and ideas of some voters and you will see why some politicians oppose RCV. Amazingly, one political party that opposes RCV actually uses it to elect their party officers with a majority vote. Sadly, even though they use RCV to get good party government, they want to deny you RCV to get good state government.

RCV lets you vote for your preferred candidate without fearing you will help the candidate you like the least get elected. RCV elects politicians who have a majority of support from the voters. I urge you to vote “Yes On One”.

Tom Waddell is President of the Maine Chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (ffrfmaine.org) He can be reached at President@ffrfmaine.org

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