State of Elections

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Tag: Maine

Ranked Choice Voting in Maine

By: Emily Wagman

On October 19, 2015, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting delivered 70,000 signatures to Maine’s Secretary of State. While the signatures still must be verified, it is likely that the proposal will make it onto the 2016 ballot. Ranked choice voting is also referred to as instant runoff voting, which allows voters to rank their candidates in order of preference. If a voter’s first choice does not win, the voter’s vote moves to his/her second choice candidate. The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting has support from all sides of the political spectrum. Voters in Maine are especially concerned with the idea of majority rule since the current Governor, Paul LePage, won his first term with only 38% of the vote, which is not exactly a ringing majority endorsement. Moreover, voters are also concerned with the issue of spoiler candidates. The most recent gubernatorial election saw a three-way race between LePage (R), Mike Michaud (D), and Eliot Cutler (I). The results of that election show that Cutler was a spoiler candidate – LePage received 48.2% of the vote, Michaud received 43.4% of the vote, and Cutler received 8.4% of the vote. Had the votes Cutler received gone to Michaud, LePage would have been unseated.

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A redistricting light through the (pine) trees

by Rachel Provencher

As the weather cooled and the leaves started to color in Maine last fall, the state legislature was heating up in debate over the Republican and Democratic proposals to redraw the Pine Tree State’s district lines.

Democrats and Republicans worked hard in the summer and fall of 2011 to resolve different redistricting plans for the state of Maine.

The redistricting battle between Republicans and Democrats was likely the result of close congressional races in 2010, when both districts fell to Democrats. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who beat Republican challenger Dean Scontras by a 57-43 margin, holds Maine’s 1st district, and Representative Michael Michaud won by a 55-45 margin to take Maine’s 2nd district. In 2011, when Democrats and Republicans both proposed redistricting maps, the two plans showed significant differences. The Democratic plan presented little change to the existing map, while the Republican plan proposed shifting approximately 360,000 Mainers—one quarter of the state’s voters—between the two districts. The Republican plan also relocated Pingree’s hometown of North Haven into the middle of the 2nd district. Continue reading

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