Today in Maine, the ranked ballot will be reviewed in federal court for the third time. And our team at Princeton did.
In 2018, ranked option voting was used for a federal election for the first time anywhere in the United States, in District 2 of the Maine Congress. And it makes a difference. Sub-party voters can express their first preference without fear of casting their vote. They can then offer their support in the following rounds to Jared Golden (D) or Representative Bruce Poliquin (R). In the end, their support was enough to elect Golden to the seat of the House of Representatives. More than 95% of voter opinion was used in all round of counting, including thousands of young candidate voters.
Sub-party voters have a high strategy in using their ballot, usually ranking all candidates. In contrast, the most frequent choice of supporters of Golden and Poliquin is to stop after making an option.
However, the plaintiffs have come up with a new definition of participation. They argue that the backers who gave only one option did not participate fully. Thus, they claim, ranked vote-for-vote undermines democracy. Their summary is here. My team here at Princeton went through the summary. We found the arguments to be flawed, and we have shared some of our thoughts with the court as short amicus.
Today Judge Lance Walker, who denied several previous challenges, held an evidence hearing. It can provide the first glimpse into how the case will unfold.
Update: Basically, the plaintiffs’ attorneys claim that their voting power was affected by the rated vote choice. Notably, all four plaintiffs are Poliquin voters – and therefore they all have their choice registered in the final tally, regardless of how they marked their ballots. .
Ultimately, Judge Walker seems to say that in order for a legitimate argument to arise, voters must bear the burden in a specific way against the Choice-Rated Voting Act (as opposed to the general risk of injustice). any form of voting). He said that in pluralistic elections, the difficulties are not enough to damage the constitution. Then he wants to know: is there a small fraction of voters who mistakenly create a harm that requires intervention? The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Obermeier, said that the threshold could be very low due to how important the right to vote. Overall, Judge Walker doubts that this case is any different from the 2018 one, babyIn which he argues that the RCV does not harm the constitution.