'Ranked choice voting' will likely cost Sen. Susan Collins her seat; will it come to AK? - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, October 25, 2020
HomePolitics‘Ranked choice voting’ will likely cost Sen. Susan Collins her seat; will it come to AK?

‘Ranked choice voting’ will likely cost Sen. Susan Collins her seat; will it come to AK?

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A method that Alaska voters are being asked to approve — Ballot Measure 2 — is what will likely cost Sen. Susan Collins of Maine her seat in November.

Ranked choice voting and the expected flood of mail-in ballots from Democrats are a toxic combination to Collins and other Republicans in Maine this year.

With Maine’s new ranked choice voting, Collins will need a greater than 50 percent majority, rather than a plurality, to win her fifth term in office. That’s because there is not just a Democrat and Republican in the race, but also two independents.

Right now, Collins is trailing Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat by over 6 percent, according to a compilation of polls at RealClearPolitics.

The ranked-choice voting has never been used in a Maine U.S. Senate race. It’s a complicated system that has voters vote for who they want most, second most, and so on, and it’s a system that relies on machines to count the “instant run-off.” When a candidate reaches more than 50 percent, the race is over.

Some have called it a race to the bottom; others say it simply favors Democrats.

It’s what is proposed for Alaska voters with Ballot Measure 2. Led by former Walker Chief of Staff Scott Kendall, Ballot Measure 2 is funded and pushed by the same groups that convinced Maine voters in 2016 to go for the new way of voting.

Maine Republicans are challenging the legality of it, but the ballots have now been printed. Maine’s Democrat Secretary of State had invalidated enough signatures on a repeal initiative to prevent Republicans from stopping the ranked-choice method from being used in this presidential cycle. Court challenges on that action were not enough to stop the Democrats from going forward.

This bodes poorly for Sen. Collins. Six years ago, she won with nearly 70 percent of the vote. But now, she is underwater with voters because President Donald Trump’s unpopularity with some Maine voters puts that state in the “leans Biden” category. Democrats have targeted this state as a “pick up” for them for the Senate seat.

Maine voters have one cycle of experience with the ranked-choice system, and Republicans have already been on the losing end because of the way Republicans vote — many of them won’t rank candidates.

In 2018, a Maine legislative race that was won by Bruce Poliquin with over 46 percent of the vote, ended up flipping to Democrats after the ranked choice tally was completed. Democratic Rep. Jared Golden didn’t have enough “first choice” votes but ended up with enough “second choice” votes to overtake Poliquin and get just over 50 percent of the vote. The “second choice” candidate won the race.

That is what is expected to happen on Nov. 3 in the U.S. Senate race.

One way the ranked-choice ballot disenfranchises Republican voters is because they are “values voters” who only select one candidate, giving Democrats and non-aligned voters who do play the ranking system a structural advantage.

For example, Republicans who are pro-life voters will not choose a pro-abortion candidate as their second or third choice. Therefore, they get just one shot at the ballot, while those who play the ballot with more choices have their votes counted more than once.

Alaskans will be asked in November by Outside interests to adopt the system in Alaska. Republicans — and also Democrats like former State Sen. Johnny Ellis and former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich — have come out in opposition to Ballot Measure 2.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • RCV is progressive and modern, of course, conservatives will not like that. Collins and Republicans are losing because of your racist and misogynist platform….

    [Remainder of this post has been removed by moderator]

    Rob – we are trying to have a civil conversation here and I am going to have to sanction you for excessive name calling, fat-shaming, and insults about skin color in your posts, which I have deleted in this post. Please refrain from being uncivil to continue on this forum. -sd

  • Rob, looks like you were schooled for accusing Republicans of what YOU are guilty of!

  • Plain and simple, Ranked-Choice Voting is to get more Democrats and Left-wingers into office. Beware!

  • Ranked-choice voting is a sure highway to (more) corruption and disenfranchisement. That said, getting Collins out of congress would be *almost* as good as seeing the eviction of Murkowski. They’re both cream of the RINO crop.

  • This is true, if your not willing to select 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th choices you’ve been disenfranchised if the vote is not clear in the first round. And, machines-computers (that can & have been hacked) do all the scoring of choices so the “trust” element goes way down the bigger the election. Think about it…thousands or millions of ballots spread out on tables all over the country being sorted by choices on hand written note pads if a hand count is required due to error, hacking or disputed numbers. What a nightmare.

  • “That’s because there is not just a Democrat and Republican in the race, but also two independents.”
    Oh my god…next there will be Libertarians & Greenies as well challenging the GOP for a voice in Congress:)

    • Independent means Democrat. Green party means Democrat.

      Simple test. Ask your average “independent” when they last voted for a Republican, and who it was. Do not be surprised if you do not get an answer, very few independents vote for a candidate that is not a Democrat.

  • Opt out. Even if a new form of voting is ushered in you can always stick with the one voice / one vote old school method by simply not ranking any other than you first choice. That’s the best way to dilute the efforts of whomever’s behind RCV… if that’s your thing.

    • If I read it correctly, leaving blanks will invalidate your ballot. You have to rank every candidate, or your single person single vote will get tossed.

      • Interesting. That requirement would make the RCV system statistically flawed and inappropriate. There should never be a system of voting wherein you must vote for someone you don’t approve of, despite the fact that you might be voting for other candidates ‘just a little bit’.

  • Ranked choice voting is the way to go, the destruction of the two party system is a positive thing. The reason Republicans don’t like it is it empowers more candidates to get involved. As for the Republicans votes only counting once, the same is true of Democrats. If they vote for either the Republican or Democratic candidate their vote counts once, only if the vote for the lowest vote getter which usually is a third party candidate could their vote end up switching. Collins seat was in question no matter what. Republicans have done everything they can to rule from the minority and people are tired of the politics. The best thing about the Trump presidency is the destruction of the Republican Party, they have lost their vision before him and have gone of the deep end with his leadership.

    • Well stated. I concur fully! Kudos!

    • Absolute idiocy. The concept of voting is to establish popular choice; not to weight the game toward destruction of a particular party.

    • You might want to leave your bubble. Just sayin. It’s not the Republicans that people are getting tired of. Pretty sure it’s not the Republicans that just encouraged riots that caused over 2 billion dollars in damages over just a two week period in late May/early June, let alone how much the price tag will end up being for everything that’s happened since then. It’s not Republicans literally threatening war over a Supreme Court seat. It’s not Republicans that are applying for PPP loans fraudulently in order to fund their State parties. It’s not Republicans that are running a candidate who needs to be in a nursing home. It’s not Republicans who are being investigated for potentially receiving millions of dollars from overseas donors through ActBlue. It’s not the Republicans that impeached a sitting President because they didn’t like how he was uncovering their corruption, nor is it they who are threatening to impeach a President for the second time in a year to try and stop him from nominating another Supreme Court Justice. It’s not the Republicans that are blatantly advancing policies that only benefit small minority groups while to the detriment of every other group along racial and gender lines. I could go on here but I’m pretty sure it will all just go in one ear and out the other.

      You might want to rethink your argument about ranked choice voting too, considering you’re criticizing the Republicans for trying to rule from the minority, while advocating for a voting system because you think it will lead to the election of Independent candidates, which is the literal definition of ruling from the minority. There is a reason that Independents rarely get elected. That’s because most of them are either joke candidates or completely insane.

      Ironically, the only thing you’re right about is the Republican vision changing under Trump. The Republican party definitely is moving towards more of a big tent party, moving slightly to the left in order to court the legions of disaffected moderates and right leaning Democrats, who have either been purged from the Democratic Party or disgusted by the Democrats sprint to the left. I’m one of those. There’s a very good reason why the #walkaway movement is gaining steam. Recently, a poll showed that 45% of LGBTQ men supported Donald Trump. That’s because Trump, and by extension the Republicans, are the only sane voices left in the room when the other half of our political system has been taken over by extremists who are seemingly willing to trigger a civil war in their lust to regain power. People aren’t stupid. They’re particularly not stupid when their cities suffer from billions of dollars in damages from radicals and extremists burning, looting and pillaging. They’re definitely not stupid when #Thisiswar trends on twitter…over a Supreme Court Justice, the very definition of something that’s supposed to be non-political. Supreme Court Justices sole job is to interpret whether a law or action by the government is constitutional. Their job isn’t to legislate from the bench or rewrite the Constitution. They can’t decide that the Constitution is unconstitutional, for example. So why, remotely, is it war when a new justice is nominated to the Supreme Court? Like I said, people aren’t stupid. Many of us see what is going on. You should probably get out of your bubble.

      • Excellent commentary and spot on!

  • Actually, the democrats have more at stake if Ranked Choice Voting were ever adopted. Far left progressives love the idea of RCV, the DNC do not, and for good reason. We’d be looking at a Tulsi Gabbard nominee with RCV, not the DNC’s, “Biden the Installed” candidate.

  • I don’t agree with ranked choice voting at all. Having said that, that form of voting isn’t the only reason why Collins would lose her election. Plain and simple she is a RINO, just like Murkowski, and conservatives in that state are tired of her. Both Collins and Murkowski are going to be kicked to the curb because of their so called “representation.” The voters of Maine and Alaska were duped by Collins and Murkowski and the voters are not going to forget it when it comes time for their re-election.

    • There has always been multiple parties in every race. The Nazis have a guy in there running and so do the KKK and other various groups. A lot of Independents vote Republican. There’s a public record nowadays and they’re afraid they’ll lose their job if they’re found out.

      • I’m sorry but “A lot of independents vote Republican.” just tickled my funny bone. I know a lot of people who claim they are independent. So far, I have not met a single one of them that actually voted for a Republican in any race.

        • A lot of republicans are actually pretty liberal, definitely more fiscally liberal than private sector conservative independents. Note in point, many public employees claim to be republican, but love to feed at that unionized liberal public money teat, and WILL vote with the union. You’d be shocked how many cops vote the left side of the ticket.

        • Well there’s a first time for everything, I am an Independent voter and voted for Trump, so yes, we do exist.

  • I find it interesting they are running an ad saying this will keep “dark money” out of Alaskan politics, yet the are funding by “dark Money”.

  • This initiative is a jumbled mess of half-assed policies. Lumping 3 unique election topics into one question destines it for failure.

    I don’t mind the open primary, with the caveat that if one candidate got 50 percent plus one they would automatically win the general, but it is not so in this ballot initiative.

    The RCV is garbage, especially in the proposed system. Top two from primary go on to general election regardless of party. All either party has to do to throw a wrench into the general is run the appropriate amount of “petition candidates” to muck up the outcome of a contest between the top two from the primary. This is ripe for shenanigans.

    The dark money I could care less. If you have money, pony up or create a PAC. If you’re too dumb to see through the smoke then you deserve the government you get.

  • At the state level, Alaskans should ban campaign contributions and ads by Outside interests, i.e., only constituents within voting districts should be permitted to fund or vote for their own candidates. Otherwise, we’re allowing large corporations and national-level political organizations to steamroller our electoral process for their own benefit.

  • You might want to leave your bubble. Just sayin.

  • What I really don’t understand about the conservative criticism of RCV is that it might actually benefit Republicans in Alaska, or at least moderates. The only times Democrats can win in Alaska is when there is a split vote (Tony Knowles for example) between the Republicans. If Alaska is a right-leaning state, shouldn’t this benefit conservatives more? Both conservatives and progressives are tired of the establish parties choosing our politicians.

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