PORTLAND — Ranked-choice voting got a dry run – with a twist – when the League of Young Voters tallied up its mayoral endorsement.

The league’s top five picks for Portland mayor: City Councilor David Marshall, followed by former state Sen. Michael Brennan, former state Rep. John Eder, teacher Markos Miller and consultant Jed Rathband.

The five-way endorsement is based on the ranked-choice voting to be used by Portland voters on Nov. 8 to decide who, among 15 candidates, they want to be mayor.

Ranked-choice voting, of course, is based on the constitutional concept of “one person, 15 votes.”

In the league’s count, the lowest vote-getter was dropped after each round – that’s the same as it will be in November – and the second choices of people who voted for that candidate were allocated. On Election Day, the process will continue until one candidate manages to get 50 percent plus one of the ballots still in play.

The league, however, also dropped the top vote-getter after he – in this case, Marshall – got a majority. Then the vote-counting resumed until another candidate got a majority, and then continued through the top five.

“We figured with 15 people running this year, it would be difficult for the league to choose just one,” said Delia Gorham, a spokeswoman for the group. But she said that endorsing more than five might have resulted in the league endorsing a candidate who didn’t really share the group’s views, which she called “progressive.”

“Any one of them (the five) would be good,” she said.

The list is similar to the results of a straw poll the league held after its candidate forum, “So You Think You Can Mayor?” earlier this month.

Brennan won that poll, followed by Marshall, Miller, Rathband, current Mayor Nicholas Mavodones and Eder.

TIME FOR THE SIGNS

Yesterday was the first day of political spring.

Motorists, joggers and bikers probably noticed a sudden sprouting of yard signs Tuesday, the first day, under state law, that lawn signs can migrate off private lawns.

Six weeks before Election Day, candidates and their supporters are allowed to put lawn signs in the public right-of-way, which essentially means roadsides and medians.

They still aren’t allowed on telephone poles, trees or bridge abutments, said Nicole Clegg, the city’s spokeswoman.

Clegg said the city doesn’t restrict signs beyond state law, but she noted that Portland discourages the use of wire to secure signs to the ground to reduce the risk of damaging lawn mowers when the city cuts grass where signs have been placed.

“Maine wooden stakes would be preferable,” she said.

BUSINESS GROUP BACKS STRIMLING

Ethan Strimling may not have won the League of Young Voters’ endorsement, but he did nail down the endorsement of some prominent Portland business people this week.

The group includes Joe Malone, who owns a commercial real estate company; Tim Soley, owner of a property management company; Brian Petrovek, owner of the Portland Pirates hockey team; Anthony Barrasso, owner of Anthony’s Italian Kitchen; and Bob Baldacci, owner of Baldacci Communications, a consulting firm.

In a letter signed by the business people and distributed by the Strimling campaign, the group noted a vacancy rate of 14.2 percent in downtown Portland offices and said Strimling is the best candidate to revitalize the city.

The group noted that it is backing Strimling with money, too.

Strimling said that will help, but added that right now, most campaigns are concentrating on relatively low-cost door-to-door campaigning and sending out emails encouraging donations and volunteers.

He dismissed the league’s endorsements, saying its members might not be as focused on economic development as other city voters.

“They may be missing the major issue for Portland voters,” he said.

UNDERSTANDING RANKED CHOICE

Jed Rathband’s campaign has put together a short video to explain to voters how ranked-choice voting will work.

The animated video at jedformayor.com shows how the votes in a four-way race would be allocated until one candidate emerges with enough to win. The video is just a few minutes long, but probably would have required an intermission if it had tried to show how a 15-candidate race might play out.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]