RCV experiment a big swing and a miss

Dear Editor:

After all the votes were counted, Mookie Betts (Poliquin) led on the first preference with 46.3 percent to Mike Trout (Golden) with 45.6 percent and 8.1 percent for the two independents, Bond (Jose Ramirez) and Hoar (J.B. Martinez). However, as no candidate for MVP had a majority of the votes, those votes for the independents were redistributed between Betts (Poliquin) and Trout (Golden). Those who didn’t give a preference for either candidate were eliminated and Mike Trout won the election for most valuable player in the American League.

Of the votes left in the count, Trout won 49.18 percent to Betts’s 47.97 percent, including exhausted (eliminated). The final count was Trout (Golden) 50.62 percent to Betts (Poliquin) 49.38 percent and 2.85 percent exhausted (eliminated). Finally, the end result of this situation was that those who voted for the two independents, Bond (Ramirez) and Hoar (Martinez) controlled the outcome of the election. Their 8.1 percent of the total vote threw the election to Trout (Golden) and robbed Betts (Poliquin) of his simple plurality win. So Trout (Jared Golden) did not win a majority of the votes cast but 50.62 percent of all the votes cast, including the transfer from the RCV rule, was still a higher percentage than Betts (Bruce Poliquin) would have had under Maine’ former plurality system, which had worked fine for 198 years.

In the actual 2nd District election, the votes for the two independents were redistributed as follows: 44.5 percent went to Golden and 20.3 percent to Poliquin and 35.2 percent were exhausted (no preference for either of the remaining candidates).

So, if you can understand this convoluted system that has cost Maine taxpayers many thousands in additional dollars of election expense, plus the secretary of state finding some more ballots to count three weeks after the fact, just maybe we voters should consider trashing this abomination and going back to the old way.

The referendum question was unintelligible from the very beginning, as pointed out by V.P. Reynolds, former editor of the Bangor Daily News, who wrote “A thorough examination of how the RCV question because so obtuse and inscrutable” that it also required a published explanation at the polls tells me that the whole idea was to throw the election to the Democrat, Second District be damned. Let me be the second to publicly call for a repeal of the “farce” and also allow me to apologize for this complicated letter, which just mirrors how complicated ranked choice voting is.

Dudley Gray

Rangeley Plantation

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