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posted by chromas on Wednesday June 13 2018, @04:31PM   Printer-friendly
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Maine Is Trying Out A New Way To Run Elections. But Will It Survive The Night?

The man who lives in the Blaine House in Augusta, Maine, was, for many, a sneak preview of the 45th president of the United States. Like Donald Trump, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has transformed the face of government with his politically incorrect brand of conservatism — and he did it despite winning less than a majority of votes. LePage won a seven-way Republican primary for governor in 2010 with 37 percent of the vote, and he beat a Democrat and three independents in the general with just 38 percent.

Eight years later, it's far from clear that LePage would have a path to victory if he were running now in the Republican primary for governor. That's because, partly in response to LePage's plurality wins, Maine on Tuesday will become the first state to use ranked-choice voting to decide a statewide election. So not only are there races in Maine we'll be watching, but the process matters too. And if Maine voters don't pass an initiative reauthorizing the voting method at the same time, this real-life political-science experiment will be cut short.

The question of keeping ranked-choice in place for future primaries and Congressional races in the general election led 54-46 percent with 57% of precincts reporting at 12:05 AM EDT.

Maine's Governor Paul LePage has threatened to not certify the results, but that doesn't matter according to Maine's Secretary of State:

Gov. LePage on Tuesday says he "probably" won't certify results from the voter-approved ranked-choice voting system.

Maine law requires the secretary of state to tabulate results and get them to the governor within 20 days of an election. The governor "shall" certify them within a reasonable time period, but Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, a Democrat, said this only applies to state general elections and not primaries. "He can bluster all he wants, but he can't change the results," Dunlap said.

Also at WGME, Vox, NYT (live results), and Portland Press Herald.

Previously: Maine Supreme Court Approves Ranked-Choice Voting for 2018 Elections

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  • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 13 2018, @06:25PM (4 children)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 13 2018, @06:25PM (#692448) Journal

    When dealing with humans, nothing is perfect. The question is, which solution is less bad?

    If you dislike the 2-party system then this process is less-bad.

    Duvergers Law indicates that our current process tends toward 2 parties by nature. []

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday June 13 2018, @07:06PM (2 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13 2018, @07:06PM (#692481) Journal

    If you dislike the 2-party system then this process is less-bad.

    One could as easily say that any election system that leads to multi-party systems invariably leads to government by the political class.

    Because once you use a system that dis-values forming consensus in the minds of the electorate BEFORE an election, you leave it to politicians to build a coalition government AFTER an election. With enough splinter parties, choice is effectively removed from the hands of the electorate, and handed to the politicians. Pretty much what is happening in the EU today.

    Two parties may not be optimal. Maybe three, possibly 4 could work better. Much beyond that, and the goal isn't about the people's choice any more.
    In Europe, there seems to be a tendency toward 5 parties. []

    The recent push toward different election systems isn't designed for consensus rule. Its designed for removing ACTUAL choice from the hands of the electorate, by flooding the slate with a multitude of shell-parties, and handing the choice to politicians. A refuge for scoundrels if you ask me.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 13 2018, @07:41PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 13 2018, @07:41PM (#692496) Journal

      One could as easily say that any election system that leads to multi-party systems invariably leads to government by the political class.

      Well, one could say that. But that statement would apply to every other Democratic system on the planet as well.

      Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tfried on Wednesday June 13 2018, @08:30PM

      by tfried (5534) on Wednesday June 13 2018, @08:30PM (#692515)

      I think you're mixing up IRV and proportional voting in an interesting but misleading way, here.

      First thing to note is that IRV implies a majority vote, really, and does not make much sense in a proportional vote (except perhaps in combination with an electoral threshold, but that's a bit of a corner case). Your coalition argument does not apply for the same reason. And in fact an IRV is exactly about moving the "forming consensus" part to the electorate in a transparent fashion: If I cannot have my favorite, what would I agree with instead (and what other option would I avoid at all costs).

      Second thing to note is that - for the same reason - IRV does not directly lead to a 2+x party system, but it does not condemn any third option to meaninglessness a priori. For third parties to gain any influence, they'll still have to gain a majority, even if it is of second or third choices.

      Third thing to note is that - again for the same reason - IRV is in fact handing an advantage to those candidates that are acceptable to most, i.e. that are closest to a consensus. It precisely helps to avoid the problem where the "majority camp" is splintered over trivialities, while the "extremist camp" stands united, and wins the vote.

      Fourth thing to note is that - independent of IRV - a proportional vote has the advantage of keeping certain positions represented, even if they are not "important enough" to win a majority vote. The EU's pirate parties (most obsolete by now, but still) are a great example of that, and the EU's green parties (I know you hate them) are another.

  • (Score: 2) by dry on Thursday June 14 2018, @05:00AM

    by dry (223) on Thursday June 14 2018, @05:00AM (#692708) Journal

    In a Federal system, that is not necessarily true. Here in Canada, different regions have different favourites. In one region it is Conservative vs Liberal, another area it is Conservative vs NDP and another area it is Bloc Quebecois vs Liberal or Conservative with the orange wave election before last where all 3 of the regular candidates were so bad that the NDP did very well.
    We almost always have at least 3 parties in Parliament with 5 lately and in a close election a minority government is formed where compromise is needed to govern. I love minority governments rather then voting in a dictator for 4 (or 5) years. And even with a majority, the government seems to worry more about the voters then down there.
    It probably also helps that the Provincial elections are mostly divorced from the Federal elections, which allows regional parties to grow.