Voices & Choices

How ranked choice voting comes into play in Maine’s 1st Congressional District

How ranked choice voting comes into play in Maine’s 1st Congressional District

What do a Trump Republican and a Democrat-turned-independent have in common?

Besides wanting to represent Maine’s 1st Congressional District, both challengers looking to oust Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) from her four-term hold on the seat also think that ranked choice voting will give each a better shot at defeating Pingree in November, as reported by the Portland Press-Herald.

After launching ranked choice voting statewide in its June primaries, Maine is poised to become the first state in the country to use RCV to decide federal representatives in the general election.

Republican Mark Holbrook, who lost his challenge to Pingree in 2016 by a 16 percent margin said RCV “violates the Maine Constitution,” yet in the same breath he said it benefited his chances. Independent Marty Grohman hoped ranked choice voting would empower the moderate voters he seeks to represent.

A Unite America poll published in July also suggests Grohman might have a better shot under  RCV. Twenty-seven percent of the 442 voters in Maine’s 1st District surveyed said they were “more likely” to support Grohman because ranked choice voting eliminates the “spoiler” fears that often accompany third party and independent candidates in plurality elections.

Despite what Holbrook and Grohman might think, ranked choice voting does not help candidates of any political party (or lack thereof) win seats. But making the spoiler effect a non-issue evens the playing field so that third-party and independent candidates can  legitimately compete with major party counterparts in a more fair and democratic way.

Read the Press-Herald article here.

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