November 10, 2010

Is winning an election enough?

By Tom Bell tbell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

RESULTS OF MAINE'S LAST SEVEN GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS

YEAR   VICTOR                        WINNING PERCENTAGE

2010     Paul LePage                 38 percent in a field of five

2006     John Baldacci               39 percent in a field of five

2002     John Baldacci               48 percent in a field of four

1998     Angus King                   59 percent in a field of five

1994     Angus King                   35 percent in a field of five

1990     John McKernan            47 percent in a field of three

1986     John McKernan            49 percent in a field of three

She said it would be unfair to give a voter's second or third choice the same weight as his first choice.

"Your first vote should be the vote that counts," she said.

It's unclear how much it would cost to prepare municipalities for ranked choice voting. Dunlap said one study pegged the startup cost at $9 million.

Rob Richie of FairVote, a nonprofit that promotes ranked choice voting, said it would cost $30,000 to $40,000 because the state is already buying new voting machines. He said the state should stipulate that the winning bidder provide machines that can tally ranked choice voting elections.

Because Portland will use the new system for its high-profile mayoral election next year, Mainers will see how it works and become more comfortable with the idea, Russell said.

In effect, Portland is serving as a pilot project for the state, she said.

But getting the Republican-controlled Legislature and the new Republican governor to support ranked choice voting seems unlikely, Dunlap said.

"It's an old joke, that election reform is something proposed by people who lose elections," he said. "For people who won, the system works for them, and they like to keep it the way it is."

 

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

tbell@pressherald.com

 

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