Yes on 5: No More 'Lesser of Two Evils' in Maine

Created: 05 July, 2016
Updated: 17 October, 2022
3 min read

Voters in Maine have a historic opportunity to change the way they elect their leaders by voting “Yes on 5” this November.

You should never have to vote for the “lesser of two evils” when there is another candidate you like better. We need a system that works – where candidates with the best ideas, not the biggest bank accounts have a fighting chance.

Question 5 would empower Maine voters to rank candidates for public office. “Yes on 5” would give Maine voters the freedom to vote for the candidates they like best without worrying that they will help to elect the candidates they like least. This simple reform gives more choice and more voice to voters in our democracy.

Seventy-three thousand Maine citizens signed petitions circulated by volunteers to place Question 5 on the November 2016 ballot. “Yes on 5” is backed by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Maine, and broadly supported by Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, and Libertarians alike.

Statewide polling shows strong -- near 60% and growing -- support for Question 5 among likely November voters. That's because Mainers understand our system is broken, and we'll be better off as a state if a majority of voters elect our leaders.

Elections with more than two candidates are common in Maine, and often result in candidates being elected by less than half of voters.

None of Maine’s Democratic, Republican, or Independent governors have been elected to their first terms by a majority since 1966. In fact, less than 40% of voters have picked Maine’s governors in half of all of elections in the last 40 years.

“Yes on 5” would restore majority rule and ensure that candidates who are opposed by a majority of voters could never win.

Mainers will elect a new governor in 2018. Republican Governor Paul LePage is term-limited. The last open race for governor in Maine featured five Democratic candidates, seven  Republican candidates, and three independent candidates. Crowded primaries are expected again in 2018. The general election will feature one or more independent candidates.

IVP Existence Banner

A victory for “Yes on 5” means that Maine’s next governor would be elected to his or her first term by a majority for the first time in more than 50 years, and the voices of Maine people would be heard more loudly and clearly.

Mainers will also vote whether or not to return independent U.S. Senator Angus King to Washington, D.C. for a second term in 2018. Republican Governor LePage is considering challenging King. Regardless of who emerges from the primaries, this general election will likely feature at least three candidates.

Question 5 would ensure that voters get the outcome that they want in Maine’s next U.S. Senate election. And no voter would have to choose between voting for the “lesser of two evils” or feeling like their vote is “wasted.”

These are just two examples. “Yes on 5” will improve elections and democracy in Maine for generations to come.

Maine citizens have a tradition of political independence and civic leadership. They understand their responsibility to vote to make Maine and the United States a better place for their children and grandchildren.

Maine was the first state to adopt clean elections in 1996. It was the first state to vote by referendum in 2015 to restore this law after Citizens United and other court decisions rolled back campaign finance laws. In 2011, Maine voters restored same-day voter registration. It is still one of only 11 states that allows voters to register to vote on Election Day.

Political independents will be watching this race closely over the coming months. Maine could become a model for other states that are considering reforms like ranked choice voting to give voters more voice and more choice in our democracy, especially in states where elections with more than two candidates are common.

To learn more about “Yes on 5," visit the website of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting at www.rcvmaine.com.

IVP Existence Banner


Promotions for this article are Paid for by The Chamberlain Project, P.O. Box 2122, South Portland, ME 04116


Editor's note: This article was written by Kyle Bailey. Kyle is the Campaign Manager for “Yes on 5,” the ballot initiative to establish ranked choice voting in Maine this November.

Latest articles

Glenn Youngkin
The Irony of Gov. Glenn Youngkin Vetoing a Ranked Choice Voting Bill
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has said no to a bill that would clarify how ranked choice voting (RCV) is supposed to work in local elections -- which is odd considering the only reason Youngkin is governor is because of a RCV nomination process at the 2021 Virginia GOP convention. ...
12 April, 2024
3 min read
Trump and Biden Debate
If Trump or Biden Don't Want to Debate, Give The Stage to Someone Else
Major national news outlets reportedly are drafting an open letter to President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump's campaigns urging them to debate this fall. Biden has threatened not to debate at all, and Trump doesn't have a solid track record committing to debates....
10 April, 2024
3 min read
Electoral College
The Electoral College Reform the Nation Needs is Not What Either Party Wants
Nebraska is one of only two states that has a system that awards its Electoral College votes based on the popular vote in each of its congressional districts. However, there is a contingent of state lawmakers who want to change this with the support of former President Donald Trump....
08 April, 2024
11 min read
Joe Biden
Biden's Problem with Independents: His Party Is Constantly Insulting Them
Biden is connected to the Democratic Party. In fact, he is the Democratic Party. And there is no organization more oblivious to how it ignores and disrespects independent voters than the Democratic Party....
07 April, 2024
4 min read
New Campaign Launches to Ease Panic over Elections that Go Into 'Overtime'
The worse political polarization gets, the more anxiety people feel over close elections. Accusations surface about rigged processes, frustration builds when results aren't called on Election Night, threats against election workers surface, and errors in reporting are made....
07 April, 2024
2 min read
missouri state capitol
The Missouri Resolution Designed to Sucker Voters into Banning Ranked Choice Voting
There is a resolution in the Missouri Legislature that if approved by voters would ban the use of ranked choice voting (RCV). However, RCV isn't the sole subject. There is another provision meant to trick voters into supporting it. ...
05 April, 2024
4 min read