logo

Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Man Who Literally Wrote the Book on Maine Constitution Defends Ranked Choice Voting

image
Created: 14 April, 2017
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

Marshall Tinkle wrote a piece in the Bangor Daily News Thursday arguing that not only does ranked choice voting not violate the Maine Constitution, Maine does not permit the state's Supreme Court from issuing an advisory opinion on the matter.

What makes Marshall Tinkle such an expert on the Maine Constitution? Well, for one thing, he literally wrote the book on it. Tinkle, who practices law in Portland, is the author of the reference book, The Maine State Constitution.

In his piece, Tinkle addresses 3 questions:

  • Does ranked-choice voting violate the “sort, count, declare” provisions in the Maine Constitution?
  • Does ranked-choice voting violate the “plurality provisions” in Maine’s Constitution?
  • Does ranked-choice voting violate the provision in the Maine Constitution for breaking a tie in a gubernatorial election?

In simple terms, Tinkle explains why opponents of ranked choice voting have a weak argument to make on all three questions. Further, he says the constitution does not permit the high court to issue an advisory opinion on the matter regardless.

CONTINUE READING: Nothing in the ranked-choice voting law violates the Maine Constitution

What is before the Maine Supreme Court is a ballot measure that was approved by a majority of voters. Yet, lawmakers and government officials on both sides of the aisle don't want to see it go into effect.

"We — the people of Maine — have the right to direct democracy," Tinkle writes. "We exercised that right when we proposed and approved ranked-choice voting as a better system for electing our leaders. Unless a voting procedure is expressly banned by our Constitution, it should not be construed as inhibiting attempts to improve the electoral system."

Tinkle also filed a responsive brief to the Supreme Court on the matter in March:

[The state constitution] broadly lays out a few basic steps in the ballot aggregation process designed to foster accuracy, transparency, and integrity so that the election results will reflect the will of the electors. There is no evidence that ranked-choice voting will impede any of these goals. To the contrary, it is designed to better reflect the popular will in the election results.

The Maine Supreme Court heard oral argument on ranked choice voting Thursday morning. State lawmakers challenging ranked choice voting are hoping the justices will give them justification to not implement the voter-approved, alternative voting method.

Photo Credit: Black Jack / shutterstock.com

Read more

fair maps
Gerrymandering Reform: Are We Asking the Wrong Question?
Photo Credit:  ...
01 March, 2024
-
7 min read
joined hands
10 Reasons Why Americans Are Not as Divided as You Think
Photo by on  Party leaders, politicians, and media pundits and talking heads would have US voters b...
28 February, 2024
-
7 min read
people
LetUsVote: New Campaign Launches to End Discrimination Against Independent Voters
Open Primaries, in partnership with Unite America, announced the launch of LetUsVote Wednesday, a nationwide initiative that aims to mobilize and empower independent voters, who make up the largest voting bloc in the US but are treated like second-class voters....
27 February, 2024
-
4 min read
voting
For Good or Bad, Primary Changes May Be Coming to Elections Near You
Photo Credit:  The last couple of years have seen an increase in states looking to change their prim...
26 February, 2024
-
4 min read
voted
The Primary Problem: Only 8% of Voters Elect 83% of Our Representatives
In his latest podcast, former Democratic presidential candidate and Forward Party Co-Founder Andrew ...
26 February, 2024
-
3 min read
Weber
Blame This One on Secretary of State Weber
Eight years ago, there was a competition still in play between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wh...
26 February, 2024
-
4 min read