Ranked Choice Voting Wins in Maine / We Need a National Popular Vote

Posted on November 11, 2016

Share Our Success! Please share our news on social media about Maine adopting ranked choice voting, the National Popular Vote plan and the case for reform.

Dear Friends,

It’s been a momentous week in our democracy.

The nation has been focused on the election for president. But there’s a reason that Stanford University’s Larry Diamond wrote in Foreign Policy that the nation’s second most important election this year was the ballot question to adopt ranked choice voting in Maine.

Mainers’ strong vote for ranked choice voting was historic. By voters passing Question 5 in a 52% to 48% vote, Maine became the first state to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) to elect the Governor, U.S. House and Senate, State House and State Senate. We’ll see our first RCV elections in Maine in the 2018 primaries and general elections for all of those offices. Read our joint news release with Maine’s RCV advocates and coverage in Vox, Slate, and the Boston Globe and enjoy this short online documentary by Third Candidates about the campaign.

Voters in Benton County, Oregon also passed RCV for county elections by a margin of 54%-46%. The Better Ballot Benton campaign was remarkably successful in earning endorsements. Four Bay Area cities with a total of more than a million people used RCV this November, as explained by our new FairVote California project.

This year’s elections underscored the great value of ranked choice voting. Voter hunger for stronger voice, greater choice and fair results. RCV is a win-win solution. Having broken the barrier of winning in a state, RCV is ready to move around the country. Stay tuned for information on joining a phone call for people to hear more about Maine and Benton County and how to get involved, and consider joining our new activist Google group for people wanting to self-organize.

The National Popular Vote plan for president is on many people’s minds this week. FairVote has been a research and education partner for the National Popular Vote advocacy group since the plan was launched a decade ago. It has been introduced in every state legislature and passed in 10 states and the Districts of Columbia. Once adopted by states collectively representing an Electoral College majority, it would ensure the next presidential election would be won by the candidate who wins in all 50 states and DC.

This year will mark the fifth “divergent” presidential election in American history, triggering a passionate response. But as I explained in a TV news story this week, we did not have a real national vote for president this year. The candidates showered more than 90% of their campaign events on the 11 swing states projected from the 2012 election and more than half in just four states -- states all won by Donald Trump. The fact that Hillary Clinton will win some 1.5 million votes more nationally will be inexplicable to many, and that confusion is reason enough to change the system. But the greatest flaw that poisons every presidential election is that most Americans are completely ignored by the campaigns.

That’s just wrong. I am a passionate believer in the value of having every vote in every state count equally in election for president. Let’s make it happen in 2020 -- you can start by writing your state legislator through the National Popular Vote website.

Understanding Election 2016

FairVote’s team has been churning out analysis at our blog. There is a lot to say, from…

  • Disturbing cases of potentially unrepresentative outcomes due to “vote-splitting” that so sensibly could be fixed with ranked choice voting

  • Yet another 100% record of accuracy in our Monopoly Politics projections -- we projected winners in six out of seven November 2016 U.S. House races more than two years before this election, and it’s clearer than ever that we need the Fair Representation Act.

  • The problem of voter turnout going down in this election and ways we might increase it

Please take a look and share pieces you find useful!

What’s Next and a Request

There is growing interest across the country to reform our broken voting system. FairVote went “all in” with supporting the ballot measures in Maine and Benton County, drawing more than $300,000 from our very limited savings.

Please consider us with your time and your donations as we head into next year. We see great opportunities to build on this momentum in cities and states, and are excited to be in touch with reform partners around the country. Our donation page is ready for donations.

Thank you!

Rob Richie
Executive Director, FairVote

Feel encouraged to share our good news on social media! Here are some posts that are ready to go:

Maine Makes History! First state to adopt #rankedchocievoting for statewide offices. Get involved with the next victory at FairVote.org

Maine sets an example for the nation: adopts ranked choice voting. RCV gives more voice to voters. Let’s make this happen in 2017! Join FairVote.org

Want a national popular vote for president? We can win it in the states. Take action at NationalPopularVote.com


 
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