As we move closer to the upcoming primary and the Secretary of State works on an incredibly short timetable to overhaul a big part of Maine's election system, we wanted to give you an update on last week's message about election security along with some new information to think about.
That update is in the “P.S.” section at the end of this email, but we want to discuss another Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) matter first.
How many times have liberal Democrats accused Republicans of trying to suppress the vote among low-income and minority voters? I remember more than I could probably count!
But did you know the ACLU of Kansas refused to support RCV in their state because it suppresses voter turnout and increases voting errors and spoiled ballots, which also suppresses votes?
Well they did.
In addition, here are some other facts for you to consider as RCV supporters continue to fight in the courts and Legislature to force this system on us:
- In one of Minneapolis, Minnesota's early RCV elections almost 10% of ranked-choice ballots were not even counted, but were thrown out as spoiled or for voter error. The error rate alone was about 6.5%.
(Hamline University, David Schultz; Minnesota Post)
- In another Minneapolis election, almost 1,400 of the 100,000 votes were deemed invalid. If there were any other policy that could invalidate 1,400 votes in Maine, our counterparts would be screaming about voter suppression, at least if they could blame it on us.
(Post Bulletin, Aaron Miller)
- In the 2017 Minneapolis Mayoral election, nearly 23,000 of the 105,000 ballots were considered “exhausted” and removed from counting before a winner was declared. Ultimately, the winner did not even have the “majority” support ranked choice voting supporters promise Mainers will occur under
RCV here. He had less than 45%, but 23,000 ballots did not get calculated into the final round of voting.
(Official 2017 Minneapolis, MN Mayoral election results)
So there you have it – while our counterparts often “talk” about voter suppression, the ACLU and the actual data from one of the leading RCV cities show how many people's ballots just don't count under RCV.
Whether it is the 8% drop in turnout, 10% rate of spoiled and error ballots, or the many tens of thousands of ballots that could get thrown out in multiple rounds of voting in Maine, one thing is now crystal clear. Ranked-choice voting advocates have put Maine voters in a bad spot if this system
goes into effect, even for just one election.
Maine Republican Party
P.S. UPDATE: After our message last week, the Secretary of State's office reached out to let us know that they plan on using a high speed counting machine hard-wired to a computer to count ballots in Augusta. For additional rounds of RCV voting The equipment has not been leased yet, and our concerns around the system being federally certified can't be answered yet.
However, as long as they move forward with a closed system, our concerns that Maine would see our elections determined by a vulnerable web-based RCV counting system are alleviated. We still must continue demanding the system be as secure as possible. And we still reject the idea that we should be
stuck with a system that takes control away from local election officials.
Additionally, we learned that RCV will require the Secretary of State to send state police or other authorities to collect every ballot cast from every polling location in the state in the event that a second round of voting is needed for a statewide election, which is very likely.
That's right – you can pretty much guarantee that RCV will force our law enforcement off their regular duties around the state to deliver ballots – make no mistake, this is necessary to keep the election secure, but it is unfortunate that RCV supporters put us in this position.
All that said, we are happy the Secretary of State is taking our concerns seriously. We'll keep you updated on future developments.
With Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announcing that ranked-choice voting supporters have enough certified signatures to continue pushing the issue in the June primary, we have deep concerns.
Considering that today is March 9th, we are just over 3 months away from Election Day, and implementing this complicated and confusing system could be a nightmare.
Our top concern right now is the security of Maine's elections.
You see, all election systems and equipment, etc. have been declared critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security after hackers attempted to compromise the systems of 21 different states in the last election cycle.
Secretary of State Dunlap himself said that Maine was 'insulated' from these attacks because our system of voting and counting ballots is so decentralized, with election workers counting ballots and reporting in each town or precinct in the state and the Secretary of State's office just tabulating the results.
At the same time Secretary Dunlap told us that Maine's elections were safe from hackers, he said that the only piece of Maine's election system that is vulnerable is our voter file, because it is stored in a single, centralized location.
But ranked choice voting will require a single, centralized counting process – it will literally require us to move the entire process of counting our ballots into the same type of security vulnerability Secretary of State Dunlap has identified for the voter file.
This is a big problem. HUGE.
Aside from all the other arguments against ranked-choice voting being complicated, discouraging participation and violating the Constitution of the State of Maine, we need to make sure that our system is secure.
We are not sure three months is enough time for Secretary Dunlap to do it.
Does anyone want Maine's ballot counting process becoming a target of hackers from foreign governments?
We don't, and if Democrats flip-flop on us now to say that they are not worried about hackers from hostile states instead of making sure our system is secure, they are violating the public trust in epic fashion.
We'll remind you, if this system is allowed to stay in place, it will be used in the next Presidential election as well.
Do we really want to fudge our way through this?
There is too much at stake, and we are watching.
Maine Republican Party
P.S. Here are two links to help you learn more:
U.S. Dept of Homeland Security written testimony from June 21, 2017 concerning Russian cyber actors targeting state election infrastructure
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap stating that the decentralized nature of Maine elections protects Maine from hackers, but also says that the state voter file, stored in one location, is the only vulnerability
Innocent people are paying the price for Democratic Party politics
By Garrett Murch
Nowadays Democrats always seem dangerously off target. Whether it’s defending female genital mutilation or making gimmicky proposals to ban firearms that peaceful, law-abiding Mainers own to protect their loved ones, Democratic leadership is sadly out of touch.
Under Democrats, the innocent always get stuck paying the price for acts of evil.
This 'same old same old' from Democrats must change for the sake of our country and freedom itself.
Innocent people should not pay the price for old, failed Democratic Party positions. Democrat politicians now always jump to punish the innocent for acts of evil, ignoring root causes of the problems.
In Maine, Democrats are refusing to protect young girls from mutilation while at the same time trying to take away the rights of law-abiding gun owners. How messed up is that? Two groups of good and innocent people are again in the crosshairs because of Democratic Party politics.
MPA Launches Smear Campaign Against LePage Nominee
AUGUSTA – The Maine People's Alliance, the extremist socialist arm of the Maine Democratic Party has launched a vicious smear campaign against Governor LePage's nominee to head MaineHousing, DECD Commissioner George Gervais.
Gervais will seek approval before a Senate Committee today to become the new head of MaineHousing.
During his time at Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development, Commissioner Gervais has helped attract hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment and thousands of jobs to Maine, but that doesn't seem to matter to the radical leftists of the Maine People's Alliance.
Instead, they have dredged up negative news from businesses Commissioner Gervais was involved with years ago.
Clearly, Democrats are still stinging from the loss of their favored MaineHousing director, Dale McCormick, after her shockingly wasteful spending and practices were exposed in the early years of the LePage administration.
As they prepare to consider the nomination of a successful executive with a proven track record of results for Maine people, Democrats should be reminded that on their watch, MaineHousing became a playground for waste and corruption, with the organization penalized for violating federal guidelines; participating in an inexplicable and expensive “carbon offset” program; creating astronomical building costs for so-called “affordable housing”; being exposed for funneling precious tax dollars into the director's favorite special interest groups and much more.
Enough is enough. Democrats had their choice at MaineHousing and it was a corrupt disaster.
They have no credibility or standing to support this vicious political smear campaign.
For a quick look at what Maine Democrats did to MaineHousing when they were in power, click here: http://www.themainewire.com/tag/dale-mccormick/
Finding Practical Solutions for School Safety
By Jason Savage
Schools must not be safe spaces for killers. On this, people of all political stripes should agree.
At the same time, Maine is a unique state, with low crime rates and high gun ownership combined with hundreds of small populations spread across vast territory with declining school budgets and enrollment. Because of our geography, culture and economy it is difficult to find an easy alignment between other populations and our own to look for solutions to school security concerns. Whitefield and Caribou are not the same as Portland, just as Portland is not the same as Chicago or San Francisco. That said, I want to ask this simple question: If guns were banned tomorrow, would our children be any safer at school the next day?
In the wake of the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, here are a few ideas that may work for Maine to harden our schools as targets, but won't give them the feel of fortified prisons or require a massive increase in federal government control.
Maine communities must re-engage and focus on some practical actions we can take.
Revolving Resource Officers
Everyone knows the presence of law enforcement officers serves as a deterrent to some criminals and those intent on committing atrocities such as mass shootings. We know that in healthcare, prevention is key. It is no different in protecting our schools and children.
While many schools may not have the budget to employ a full-time resource officer or armed patrol officer, it may be possible for districts to pool resources and create a position for a resource officer to revolve throughout several schools in the course of a week.
A 2012 report to the United States Senate from the National Association of School Resource Officers showed that juvenile arrests in schools fell nearly 50% during the first major expansion of school resource officers around the nation from 1994-2009.
Shared Law Enforcement Spaces
Many Maine schools have space for a law enforcement officer to work in on a part-time basis. Why not allow our state police, county sheriffs and local police departments to work remotely from our local schools?
Whether the space is in a shared administrative area, a library, or other available space, our children would gain the added benefit of a law enforcement presence without the intrusion of armed security at the door.
Additionally, allowing or asking our law enforcement officials to use school parking lots for their patrol vehicles even when law enforcement officials were not present could serve as a deterrent to would-be attackers. Law enforcement professionals generally subscribe to the philosophy that having more visible patrol cars deter crime, and most of the arguments against using patrol vehicles as deterrents center on officer safety and public liability when an officer uses a patrol vehicle for personal use and is not in uniform. Those concerns do not come into play when the strategic purpose for the patrol vehicle in the parking lot is to suggest that an officer is present on school grounds.
In some parts of Maine, there is no logical reasoning for the locations of local police facilities, emergency personnel and our schools. Why not seek realignment of these campuses so public safety and school campuses are in closer proximity, when possible?
If there is one area where a criminal is likely to encounter resistance, that is the area they are most likely to avoid. We could gain the added benefit of reducing other unwanted activities around our schools, and in any other type of incident, emergency personnel are right on the scene to assist.
Maybe while we are at it, we could consolidate some of our government offices onto these same campuses and save some money.
Enhanced Community Police Involvement In Schools
Who is better trained than our teachers and trained law enforcement officials to spot warning signs among our troubled youth?
By instituting enhanced school and community programs that bring law enforcement officials into schools for activities and interactions with students in informal settings, schools gain the added benefit of security and assistance, and students (including those who may be lacking role models), and gain the benefit of role models and confidantes they previously did not have.
Think in terms of local police officers helping organize intramural sports leagues, ultimate frisbee tournaments, Minecraft competitions and music festivals, not just substance abuse courses and other dry topics.
Some might not like the cost of this, but we know taxpayer money can produce a return on taxpayer investment--in this case the safe lives of our children. In the long run, would we rather be paying our law enforcement officers to interact with our kids in a meaningful way, or dealing with a mass shooting?
To keep our children safe, we must acknowledge a one size fits all approach will not work. Some people don't trust anyone but Washington, D.C., but to be successful we must place faith and trust in our local officials, they must step up to bat, and we do need to provide them with the resources to do their jobs.
Hoping for a one-size fits all approach to drop in from Washington is a recipe for nothing getting done--or worse. Our children's lives are at stake, and because of that so is our state's future. We can, should, and must take appropriate actions at the town, county and state levels to make our schools safer. We cannot leave it up to Washington.
We can do this. We are Mainers. Democracy requires engaged citizens. This is a matter we hope all political parties in Maine will agree on.
Jason Savage is executive director of the Maine Republican Party
REPUBLICANS CLOSE VOTER REGISTRATION GAP IN MAINE'S SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Today, the Maine Republican Party is announcing that, over the past six years, it has closed its voter registration deficit with Democrats in Maine's Second Congressional District to nearly nothing.
According to the Maine Secretary of State website, in 2012 there were 6,680 fewer registered Republicans than Democrats in Maine's Second Congressional District. Since then, Maine Republicans have reduced the Democratic advantage by 6,400 registered voters in Maine's northern Congressional District, bringing it just about to even balance. The Democrat voter registration advantage has shrunk to just 239 people.
The only Congressional Republican in New England, Bruce Poliquin, hails from this district, which has also voted for President Donald Trump, Governor Paul LePage, and Senator Susan Collins in recent elections.
Following this revelation, Maine Republican Party Chair Dr. Demi Kouzounas made the following statement:
"This is further evidence voters in Maine are moving toward Republicans. To go from a massive voter registration deficit to basically even with Democrats in just six years would seem mind-blowing except for the fact we had faith that what we've been working on is right, and now we are seeing Maine people agree.
This is what happens when urban liberal elites hijack the Democrat Party and leave Maine people behind. Maine Democrat politicians are out of touch with most Maine voters.
Our top priority in the Maine GOP is being in touch with Maine people--we are Mainers even before we are Republicans, after all. We care about reversing rising taxes, healthcare costs, electricity costs, education costs, and the costs of not promoting work--real life matters that can make it easier to get by here in the land we love.
This again reveals that our message is resonating; we care about Maine and the people who live and stay in our great state, and we care about their success. We will continue to prove that outside elitists will not dictate who we are."
Communications & Political Director
Maine Republican Party
We wanted to share this interview Congressman Bruce Poliquin had this morning with Ray Richardson on a range of issues.
Here is the full Interview: http://wlobradio.com/index.php/2018/01/24/01-24-18-rep-bruce-poliquin/
Below are some excerpts.
On Senate Democrats' government shutdown to give amnesty to illegal immigrants:
"[Schumer and Senate Democrats] didn't get anything. It was the silliest thing I've ever seen...absolutely crazy. What [Schumer] tried to do is throw in immigration stuff and give amnesty to a bunch of people that are here illegally and we just absolutely stuck to our guns, did not bend one inch, and in the end he caved."
On border security, immigration and DACA:
“I've said this publicly a number of times Ray, and I will tell you, the Republicans in the House where I sit, I'm not in the Senate, I'm in the House of Representatives as you know, are very clear. Number one, we must have border security. There is absolutely no path going forward for a deal unless we secure our border. Now, I'm dead serious about this... There is plenty of opportunity to have a very substantial wall, which I support.”
“Second of all, we've got to end this crazy random visa lottery. You pick their name out of a hat, and regardless of their merit they can come to America. And then what happens is the chain migration they can pull in dozens and dozens of very distant relatives, and we've got a real problem. You remember back this past fall folks where this terrorist rented a truck in New Jersey, drove it to New York City, to Manhattan, and I think it was on a Sunday morning or afternoon, mowed down, you know, folks who were jogging and riding bikes, well, his relative got into the country, if I'm not mistaken, through the lottery, and he was pulled in through chain migration. (unintelligible cross-talk). We've got to stop this. It's got to be part of any deal, then we deal with the kids.”
“Well it also would be fair to American workers Ray because we don't want American jobs going to folks that are non-citizens.”
To read more about Congressman Poliquin's opposition to amnesty, support for securing our borders, and strengthening immigration enforcement, click here.
On the FISA Memo topic, should it be released?
“Absolutely. And I've come out publicly four or five times on talk radio and what have you... I believe the American people should read this. Serious stuff.”
“Absolutely should be released.” Bruce goes on to describe the release process. “Every American should read this.”
Communications & Political Director
Maine Republican Party
In today's Portland Press Herald, one of our top GOP representatives in the Maine House, Assistant House Minority Leader Ellie Espling, calls out Attorney General and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills for blatant abuse of office in pushing legislation unrelated to her department, seemingly for political gain.
Below, find Ellie's full piece, but first, here is an excerpt.
"In an election year it appears as though Janet Mills is, in effect, using the Office of the Attorney General to help her pander to far-left Democrat primary voters by submitting legislation that has very little to do with her department and, frankly, little chance of ever becoming law... It is a drastic overstep for any department head to submit a bill that has little to do with their department. While the governor has the authority to submit any legislation he wants at any time, the attorney general does not."
Maine AG Janet Mills uses her department to submit controversial abortion bill
The gubernatorial candidate is overreaching in order to pander to far-left primary voters
Portland Press Herald
January 13, 2018
AUGUSTA — With a packed field looking to replace Gov. LePage in November, this legislative session is going to be particularly challenging. While it is likely that the November elections will be on everyone’s mind, it is my hope that all of us gubernatorial candidates and legislative candidates alike will be diligent about checking our campaigns at the door and focusing on the job we have in front of us. That may be easier said than done, but it’s important nonetheless.
The second session of the Legislature is typically the session for us to consider emergency bills, budgetary matters, governor’s bills and carry-over bills, as mandated in the Maine Constitution. While we are constantly bickering over what rises to the level of being a true emergency, it is left up to the Legislative Council to make that call. A majority of the council, made up of five Republicans and five Democrats, must approve any bill submitted by a legislator before it can be considered in the upcoming session.
Typically very challenging, controversial bills are dealt with in the first regular session. That being said, on the very first day of the legislative session, one of Maine’s constitutional officers, Attorney General Janet Mills, who is running for governor, had a bill on the House calendar that would allow medical professionals who are not doctors to perform abortions. While it is typical for various departments and agencies to submit bills for both sessions, it is not a usual practice for a department or agency to submit something so controversial that has little to do with the operations of the department itself.
In an election year it appears as though Janet Mills is, in effect, using the Office of the Attorney General to help her pander to far-left Democrat primary voters by submitting legislation that has very little to do with her department and, frankly, little chance of ever becoming law. Abortions and who can and cannot perform them in Maine are clearly not within the purview of the Attorney General’s Office, a fact I can only assume Mills is also aware of considering she runs that office.
It is a drastic overstep for any department head to submit a bill that has little to do with their department. While the governor has the authority to submit any legislation he wants at any time, the attorney general does not. The Department of Health and Human Services is the department that collects data on abortion matters, and it’s DHHS that has some oversight.
The issue is also a drastic change in scope of practice for many medical personnel. Scope of practice issues typically go before the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee. The bill Mills submitted, aside from being an abhorrent and hypocritical piece of legislation, is a clear violation of the standards for bills in the second session of the Legislature, a fact that should come as no surprise to the attorney general. Once we arrive at the conclusion that Mills knew better, it’s easy to see her motive, which makes her actions even more egregious.
This isn’t the first time Mills has used her office to overstep her authority as attorney general, but with a tough Democrat primary on the horizon, one has to question her reasoning for submitting such a bill. Her bill was tabled in the House and my hope is that it will stay on the table. But that still does not let Mills off the hook for using her office this way. If she can’t compartmentalize and separate being Maine’s attorney general from being a candidate for governor, she should follow the lead of former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew, who resigned to focus solely on her gubernatorial campaign.
In a gubernatorial primary that is likely to be as contentious as this year’s, candidates will naturally try to move further to the left or right and endear themselves to the traditional primary voters. But state officials using their departments as quasi-campaign headquarters cannot be tolerated. We have a job to do, and that job is to work on behalf of our constituents and do what is in the best interest of the people of Maine. I would advise Janet Mills to remember that as we move through this session.
With passage of tax reform that will reduce the taxes of virtually all Maine families, we wanted to send you a pretty simple explainer that shows just how the actual tax rates and tax brackets change to help Maine people.
Far too many media sources and liberals have worked to confuse people instead of simplifying this discussion.
First of all, the standard deduction doubles. This means that the first $24,000 of income a family earns is not taxed.
The second big change is that the tax rates are cut and tax brackets are changed to help people earn more at lower tax rates.
Below are two points on the new tax brackets for married couples filing jointly. This reform also affects small businesses whose owners file the income on their individual taxes.
TAX CUTS AND MORE FAVORABLE TAX BRACKETS FOR EVERYONE
Tax Bracket #1:
Old Rate: 12% up to $18,650
New Rate: 10% up to $19,050
Tax Bracket #2:
Old Rate: 15% from $18,651 up to $75,900
New Rate: 12% from $19,051 up to $77,400
Tax Bracket #3:
Old Rate: 25% from $75,901 up to $153,100
New Rate: 22% from $77,401 up to $165,000
Tax Bracket #4:
Old Rate: 28% from $153,101 up to $233,350
New Rate: 24% from $165,001 up to $315,000
Tax Bracket #5:
Old Rate: 33% from $233,351 up to $416,700
New Rate: 32% from $315,001 up to $400,000
Tax Bracket #6:
Old Rate: 35% from $416,701 up to $470,700
New Rate: 35% from $400,001 up to $600,000
Tax Bracket #7:
Old Rate: 39.6% on income $470,701 and up
New Rate: 37% on income $600,001 and up
As you can see, the brackets set a lower tax rate for higher amounts of income, reducing taxes on everyone. Those with lower incomes are completely removed from any federal income tax responsibility, and those up through each income level see savings.
Perhaps this simple rough example shows it best:
A married couple with $77,400 per year in taxable income, not counting savings from increased deductions and additional savings, will pay $2,131 LESS in federal income taxes based on these new rates and brackets.
We plan to send out more information in coming days to explain this very complex issue.
The reality is, the code was such a complicated mess, anyone trying to explain it can easily make it confusing.
The simple thing to remember here is: tax rates drop and brackets slide higher to allow people to earn more money at lower tax rates. Virtually everyone gets a tax break.
And key deductions such as medical expenses, charitable giving, mortgage interest and student deductions are maintained or improved.
State & local tax deduction is also saved for everyone except the very wealthy.
We hope you will share these facts in the days ahead, and we remain grateful for your continued support.
Rep. Poliquin Simplifies Tax Code for Average Maine Family, Doubles the Standard Deduction, and Works to Save Mainers More of Their Hard-Earned Money
Rep. Poliquin Simplifies Tax Code for Average Maine Family, Doubles the Standard Deduction, and Works to Save Mainers More of Their Hard-Earned Money
House passes tax reform legislation that doubles the standard deduction for the average Maine family, making it easier for Mainers to benefit from the tax code
Today, Congressman Bruce Poliquin (ME-02) released the following statement after the House passed tax reform legislation that simplifies the tax code for the average Maine family by doubling the standard deduction and making it easier for Mainers to benefit from the tax code:
“I agree with my colleague Senator Collins that this new law will drastically simplify our tax code for the vast majority of Mainers and save more money for more of our hardworking families,” said Congressman Poliquin.
“Under this simpler tax code, we are doubling the standard deduction, meaning the average married couple in Maine will not pay any federal income tax for the first $24,000 they earn, a huge boost for our families. In addition, this increases the child tax credit to $2,000, meaning the average Maine family will save an additional $2,000 on their taxes per child in their family. This makes it easier for ordinary Maine families to benefit from the tax code.
“This improved tax code will also greatly benefit the more than 140,000 small businesses and job creators throughout Maine and their 275,000 employees by lowering the effective rate for pass-throughs, of which almost all small businesses are organized. It will allow small businesses in all industries to benefit from it. We are giving our small businesses—the backbone of Maine’s economy—relief so they can grow and create more jobs for our fellow Mainers.”
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