November 10, 2010

Is winning an election enough?

By Tom Bell
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)


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:


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)