Delegates to the Republican State Convention:
We, as members of the Rules and Procedures Committee of the Maine Republican Party, endorse the adoption of Rule 16.0, which codifies the longstanding use of a plurality as the basis for determining the winners of Maine Republican primary elections and rejects the substitution of ranked choice voting as the standard. We do so for many important reasons.
Plurality Voting Works. Plurality voting is tested, tried, and proven. It is part of the Party’s proud history that plurality voting was enshrined in the Maine Constitution after General Joshua Chamberlain, one Maine’s greatest Republican statesmen, rescued the State from civil war over an election dispute. Since that day, the rule of law has prevailed in Maine elections.
Plurality voting remains the best process for selecting nominees. The Party has used plurality voting to select its nominees for decades – and it works. Plurality voting is a simple, understandable system that allows election results to be known promptly. It is transparent, as it can be carried out in towns and municipalities with local oversight. And it is fair, minimizing confusion and the possibility that ballots will be disqualified. Plurality voting protects the legitimacy of the Party’s primary process.
Ranked Choice Voting Is Inferior. In contrast to the many benefits of plurality voting, ranked choice voting will threaten the legitimacy of the Party’s primary. Ranked choice voting:
In order to maintain the integrity of the Party’s primary, we believe plurality voting, not ranked choice voting, should be used to select the Party’s nominees.
Choosing Party Nominees Matters. The most important activity the Maine Republican Party does is choose candidates to run for elected federal and state offices. These candidates represent the values, ideals, and policies that the members of the Republican Party believe to be best for our country and for our beautiful State.
As recognized leaders of the Party, candidates convey the Republican message to Maine voters, help define the Republican platform, and labor tirelessly after their election to carry out the public policies that their constituents elected them to accomplish. It is therefore vitally important that the Party choose its nominees using a process that is fair, transparent, and workable.
The Rules and Procedures Committee
Annalee Rosenblatt, Chair, Cumberland
Ann Amadon, Somerset
Cindy Nesbit, Sagadahoc
Kim E MPettengill, Kennebec
Michael Quatrano, Cumberland
Ann Robinson, Esq., Cumberland
Dr. Demi Kouzounas ex officio
We have new and developing news on ranked-choice voting for you.
First, RCV supporters appear poised to try and stop the Maine Supreme Court from ruling on how many ways RCV violates the Maine Constitution.
They have now gone from 'it is absolutely constitutional' to 'we don't want to find out if it is constitutional until the state is in crisis after the election'. That is shameful.
More on that in the future...
The other important breaking development is that, although he is doing his best to move forward while the courts consider arguments against RCV, we have to oppose a new plan from Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.
It was recently revealed that Secretary Dunlap has no legal authority to send the Maine State Police out to do secure ballot transportation to complete additional rounds of counting in Augusta.
There is no way to get ballots to Augusta securely, and it violates the Maine Constitution to count them in Augusta anyway.
In an effort to make the system work, Secretary Dunlap is proposing that he hire a 'private courier service' to secure and transport the ballots. We strongly oppose this, and we ask you to as well.
Further, the funding for implementing this complicated and unconstitutional mess is simply not available.
The 'voter education' part of the RCV budget will have to be thrown out, and funding gimmicks to borrow money from future budget years would be required just to try to make it work.
This is not to mention the burden being placed on our municipalities who now have to go rent additional machines to comply with RCV.
All in all, these developments are yet another example of why Maine should not be rushing into this complicated and unconstitutional mess.
We encourage you to contact your lawmakers here and tell them we demand a constitutional election.
No outsourcing our ballot security to a 'courier service' and no gimmicks and games to pretend this whole thing is going to work.
Please go here now and tell the lawmakers that represent you not to support this gimmicky, unconstitutional plan.
Even Democrats are starting to wake up to how big a mess they are about to have on their hands. Your voice matters more now than ever before.
March 28, 2018
Former Secretary Clinton:
We are writing you to express our disappointment in your recent comments regarding women voters that were most unhelpful and, frankly, insulting.
The votes we women cast here in Maine are not determined by our husbands, our fathers, or our sons. We determine them. We are Republicans because we believe in strong Maine families, economics that lead to prosperity instead of misery, and a strong national defense that will keep our country safe.
Republican values are not male or female—they are American. Further, Maine Republicans have led the nation in electing women to high office. You may recall that one of America’s early female Senators, Republican Margaret Chase Smith, was from Maine. We also repeatedly elected past Republican colleagues of yours to the U.S. Senate—former Senator Olympia J. Snowe and current Senator Susan M. Collins. Do you believe these great leaders were forced by men to be Republicans?
Sadly, you have blamed one outside force or another for your loss in 2016. In truth, there is nothing and no one to blame but your campaign and yourself.
Suggesting we women are dictated how to vote by men is deeply offensive. We are strong, independent women in Maine, and your suggesting otherwise only shows one of the many reasons so many women did not find you to be a compelling candidate.
We sincerely hope you learn from your mistakes and learn to have more respect for our gender. It is sorely needed.
Maine Republican Party
Androscoggin County Republican Committee
Sagadahoc County Republican Committee
York County Republican Committee
Aroostook County Republican Committee
Laura B. Parker
Kennebec County Republican Committee
Cumberland County Republican Committee
York County State Committeewoman
Anne M. Page
At-large State Republican Committee
School Board Chair and Candidate for House Seat #108
Mary Kay Santoro
Cathy Lynn Bryant
Leslie T. Dubois
Candidate for Maine House District 60 and former Lewiston City Councilor
If you are a Republican woman from Maine and would like to add your name to this letter, please email email@example.com.
It is right there in black and white. (Click here to see it)
Ranked-choice voting is so complicated, it is going to be at least two weeks until Maine voters know who won our primary elections.
The whole impending mess is going to be so complicated that the Maine Ethics Commission is working on rules to define how candidates would campaign when they don't know if they have won or not.
They are also writing rules to guide the spending of campaign funds on legal challenges and litigation.
This is where we are my fellow Republicans.
Two weeks or longer to figure out who won an election. Campaigns planning to campaign after the primary because they don't know if they won or lost. New rules in place because lawsuits are practically inevitable.
Rules proposed for the spending and litigation aspects of this complicated mess before the rules for the actual ranked-choice voting process are even proposed.
Weeks of litigation, uncertainty and drama imminent.
Weeks of candidates who don't know if they won or lost trying to continue their campaigns.
Weeks of confusion for voters and humiliation for Mainers on the national stage.
Ranked-Choice Voting supporters told voters this was a better system. It's not. It's a messier, more expensive and confusing system.
Go here to tell your elected officials how you feel about this.
Maine Republican Party
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
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