Preferential voting in Maine wins

In 2016, Maine voters in a referendum chose to institute preferential (also called ranked choice) voting in their state for all elections, something that I have long advocated as the most democratic way of voting. Naturally the two main party establishments dislike the idea because it lessens their control over who should be the party nominee for general elections and also because it enables third party candidates to show their true strength since their supporters need no longer fear that their vote will be ‘wasted’ by going to a candidate who was unlikely to win.

The system in Maine, called ‘ranked choice voting’, works like this:

If there are three or more candidates in a contest, voters rank them in order of preference. If no candidate wins an outright majority, the politician with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. The second-place votes of the people who supported the eliminated candidate are distributed to those who remain in the race. The process continues until a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote.

Back in May I wrote about how the party establishments decided to try and roll back that referendum result by having the legislature pass a law that effectively nullified the referendum results. In response, supporters of ranked-choice voting put another measure on the ballot in Tuesday’s primary election that would repeal that law. I am glad to report that it looks like supporters of preferential voting system won with 54% of the vote. A few of the other races did not have a single person with a majority and so the ranked-choice voting will be use to determine the winners there too.

The outgoing governor of the state Paul Le Page, a truly terrible person who personally benefitted from the old system because it enabled him to win without gaining a majority, bitterly opposes this system and is childishly saying that he will refuse to certify the results, a gesture that is unlikely to have any effect on the outcome.

Although it affects a relatively small state, this is a major step forward in improving the appalling election system that the US currently has.


  1. Quirky says

    This is just another attempt to justify the violence of voting and the illegitimacy of the State in the minds of the nescient and the ignorant.

  2. Quirky says

    @ ionopachys,
    Grouping together in groups in the hope that your group is larger and hence more powerful, supposedly generating an imaginary right of the majority, that is to be accepted by the minority voluntarily, but in the case where the minority or any member of the minority chooses civil disobedience the imposition of violence is not only employed so as to constrain such a one to conform with the majority will, but it must be employed so as to validate and systemicly sustain the pseudo-authority that is imagined to arise from a majority…
    The problem is the majority is rarely right; and when it is right it is only because each of its members are by Nature vested with singular authority to do whatever they might want to accomplish either singularly or as a group even in the absence of such a group.
    As Kent McManigal states, “One should never confuse government with society. Society grows naturally from the voluntary interactions of people, while government is anti-social; imposed by those who imagine themselves at the “top” onto everyone they see as beneath them.”
    Also see,
    For an article entitled “Is Voting an Act of Violence?”

  3. says

    Sounds a bit ideology-heavy, which is authoritarian. You might want to level up your arguments. I recommend Robert Paul Wolff’s In Defense of Anarchism. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

  4. chigau (違う) says

    I just cannot anymore distinguish amongst all that stuff.
    Is there a website.
    If there is, should I bother?

  5. says

    No website. If you need a digital copy of Wolff there are PDFs floating around out there.

    There are several ways of refuting the authority of the state and our quirky friend seems to be angling toward flaws in voting, which is unnecessarily complicated and a weaker line of argument than refuting the authority of the state in total. But that’s not my problem.

    (It also sounds like the kind of ideological statement from authority that sovreign citizens and other conspiracy nerds like to use, which predisposes me to ignore it)

  6. Quirky says

    @ Marcus,
    TY for suggesting that I read Wolff’s treatise on Anarchy. It was an interesting read, however his initial premises defining authority missed the mark entirely. Under the heading ‘The Concept of Authority’ he stated,
    . “Politics is the exercise of the power of the state, or the attempt to influence that exercise. ….The state is a group of persons who have and exercise supreme authority within a given territory. …… Authority is the right to command, and correlatively, the right to be obeyed. It must be distinguished from power, which is the ability to compel compliance, either through the use or the threat of force. When I turn over my wallet to a thief who is holding me at gunpoint, I do so because the fate with which he threatens me is worse than the loss of money which I am made to suffer. I grant that he has power over me, but I would hardly suppose that he has authority, that is, that he has a right to demand my money and that I have an obligation to give it to him. When the government presents me with a bill for taxes, on the other hand, I pay it (normally) even though I do not wish to, and even if I think I can get away with not paying. It is, after all, the duly constituted government, and hence it has a right to tax me. It has authority over me. Sometimes, of course, I cheat the government, but even so, I acknowledge its authority, for who would speak of “cheating” a thief? ”
    Wolff fails to understand Anarchy. He writes about Anarchy but then confesses that the government is “duly constituted” having the legitimate “right” as opposed to mere “Power” to tax.
    Wolff is no Anarchist at heart. He never once mentions that the only true source of authority is either (1) de jure authorization either as a natural consequence of our human estate, or (2) the transfer of such authorization from one who possesses de jure authorization as a natural consequence of the human estate. The typical and quintessential example is the authority to defend oneself in the course of the maintenance of one’s life, one’s autonomy, and the pursuit of one’s happiness. All other legitimate human authority is inextricably intertwined therein.
    Wolff then rightly discusses the “Conflict Between Authority and Autonomy”, but then errs by suggesting that the only feasible solution lies within Democracy.
    He rightly argues that Representative Democracy and. Majoritarian Democracy fail to protect the autonomy of the individual and therefore are illegitimate. So much for what he initially claimed to be a “duly constituted” government to which he was obligated with respect to taxes.
    He then posits the absurd idea of an.”Unanimous Direct Democracy” as the only method by which the Autonomy of the individual could be protected. Later he admits the impracticability of such a State ever existing on any large scale within an industrial society.
    Repeating the worn out arguments of Rouseau and Locke, Wolff fails to defend Anarchy in any real sense. His misunderstanding of the estate of Anarchism is revealed by his statement, “The responsible man is not capricious or anarchic, for he does acknowledge himself bound by moral constraints.”
    Wolff revealingly errs here by conflating capriciousness and anarchism with irresponsibility. Anarchy, (root, an archon) just means ‘without rulers”, not rules or responsibility. His understanding of Anarchy is further belied by the statement,
    . “But so long as men believe in the authority of states, we can conclude that they possess the concept of de jure authority.”
    Imagining doesn’t make anything de jure, much less Authority.
    Authority is only de jure when it springs forth from a self-evident individual source capable of legitimately utilizing it. Group authority is illegitimate unless the members of the group individually and inherently possess such Authority.
    BTW, I do not believe in the Sovereign Citizen BS. I do recognize the inherent autonomous equality of each member of the human family.
    I sure hope I haven’t left you in the dark as to my position. Will await your reply.

  7. Quirky says

    @ my Holmie,
    I am saddened that you are unable to make a rational argument against the 1st Principles upon which Anarchy is based.
    The fact that you are still sucking air and rolling your eyes however gives me hope that you might one day either embrace those principles or at a minimum you may attempt to make a cogent argument against their application. In the process of such an attempt I believe you will ultimately be faced with your own irrationality.
    In the meantime enjoy the darkness along with the other ostriches.

  8. rjw1 says

    Yes, US electoral systems are appalling, particularly the electoral college. It’s not surprising that the country is classified as a “flawed democracy”.
    Preferential voting is a vast improvement on the primitive first-past-the-post system.

  9. Quirky says

    rjwi, all Democracies and other government models are flawed because they assume the right to compel those in the minority to relinquish their autonomy using violence as a means to that end.
    Read “The Most Dangerous Superstition”. If you are an audio fan listen to the audio while driving or whatever or you can read the text at the link below.
    Text :

    or the Audio at

    Before you are done I bet that you will discover you are an Anarchist and just don’t know it yet.

  10. Holms says

    Replace the sentence

    I am saddened that you are unable to make a rational argument against the 1st Principles upon which Anarchy is based.


    I am saddened that you are uninterested in engaging me, a rambling and passive-aggressive single-issue bore, in debate on my pet topic.

    in your comment, and it will be greatly improved in accuracy.

  11. Quirky says

    Holmie, its apparently easier for you to engage in ad hominum than to defend your unprincipled position of government by violence.
    You are not any different than the others when it comes to losing an argument if you are cornered into facing 1st Principles and the truth, something that you and other faith-based Statists refuse to do.
    So go hide with the ostriches leaving your true character exposed for all to see.

  12. Holms says

    You have just revealed that you do not know that an ad hominem is a fallacious argument. Stating an opinion of another person is not an argument, and therefore cannot be a fallacious argument, even if the opinion is negative.

  13. Quirky says

    @ Holms,
    You are correct Holms. And just as I am admitting my error on this particular point in this particular case, you would also find that I am the sort of person to do the same if I am shown to be wrong on any issue. But it is apparent that you are unable to present any facts where my general position on the legitimacy of Anarchy and the illegitimacy of the State is incorrect.
    I still await your rational response to the same should you ever get beyond your eye rolling. You now have an opportunity to show what kind of person you really are, and unless life in the company of the ostrich like humans is more fulfilling, I await learning the basis for your position and whether that basis can be shown to be virtuous..

  14. fentex says

    Naturally the two main party establishments dislike the idea because it lessens their control over who should be the party nominee for general elections

    Americans are weird. How does Preferential/Ranked voting affect WHO stands for election, when it’s the method for electing some of those who stand (in most countries put forward by political parties before any election)?

    Is it because it’s used to choose candidates in (what I believe are called) Primaries, but not the final election?

  15. Quirky says

    @fentex, normally a delegate system is employed during the Party Primaries with the delegates voting for the candidate of choice. Often delegates will switch their allegiance in order that the worser of the various evils might not receive the most votes and then be chosen by the Party as their nominee.
    Independent candidates and third parties don’t have much of a chance. Preferential voting isn’t normally used in this primary process.
    The new referendum is to establish Preferential voting in ALL final elections. It still will not affect the process of how a Party decides to choose their nominee; that is a party decision.
    It will however open the door to lesser third party and independent candidates to get on the ticket and avoid the process of being avoided because someone is afraid of wasting their vote if they choose such a candidate as their first choice.
    But this system still does nothing to protect the autonomous rights of the minority and still illogically validates a majoritarian process where violence is used to compel the supposed will of the Majority onto the individual who is a part of the minority.

  16. Mano Singham says

    feinted @#17,

    The method does not apply only to primaries but also to general elections.

    The method does not generate candidates but it encourages new candidates to run and to build up support over time for new parties and alliances. In the plurality system, people might like a candidate’s polices but not vote for them if they felt that had no chance of winning, voting instead for the lesser evil of the two who were likely to win.

  17. Quirky says

    Mano, I don’t believe the law affects what occurs within the Party Primaries themselves, that being a private matter subject to the rules set up by the respective parties as to how they conduct their particular primary..
    If this were otherwise then the law would be unconstitutional due to its control over private methods of political expression and its agreed upon application within the context of a particular party.
    Do you have a legal citation confirming it to be otherwise?

  18. Mano Singham says

    The linked article in the post states the following: “LePage’s comments mark the latest phase of a twisted legal dispute involving ranked-choice voting in the state. Republicans have unsuccessfully sought in both federal and state court to block using the system in the state’s primaries.”

  19. Quirky says

    Mano , I found the statute and it appears to control the primary process. I was wrong on that count.
    This is a prime example of how the Progressive polices of one group of voters act to limit the autonomy of another group..
    I still believe there might be constitutional challenges to its application due to the fact that each party has the autonomous right to establish its own methods in this regard.
    If this were not the case then such a law would be a state takeover of the individual party processes rendering each party into an instrument of the State, with respect to the modes of choosing party candidates..

  20. Holms says

    Replace ‘unable to present an facts’ and so forth with ‘disinterested in debating you’ and you will be closer.

  21. Quirky says

    @Holms, Replace ‘disinterested in debating you’ with ‘unable to make a moral argument for a group of men and women with guns forcing others to give them money while engaging in theft and murder while claiming they are protecting society from theft and murder ‘.
    I await your brilliant apology for their actions.

  22. Holms says

    No, it’s disinterest in debating you. I know what my reasons are better than you, don’t play the douchebag game of pretending to know someone else’s mind better than they do.

  23. Mano Singham says

    Quirky @#22,

    The problem is that the primaries for the major parties are not entirely private. The primary elections are conducted by the state, from the printing of the ballots to running things on voting days and counting of votes. So the parties have given the state a role in the process.

  24. Quirky says


    OK I can see that. Good Point.

    Do you know what the main argument the Republicans are making in the Courts is?

  25. Quirky says

    I’m not looking for debate. Just looking for a Statist that has both the moral consistency and the ability to provide evidence of such consistency while at the same time supporting what they believe to be a virtuous position for a group of men and women with guns forcing others to give them money while engaging in theft and murder while claiming they are protecting society from theft and murder.
    If you aren’t interested in doing that then I will add you to my list of ‘FAILS’. The list of Statists I converse with who FAIL for one reason or another continues to grow.
    For many years I was a Statist. I argued with anarchists and myself internally searching for a consistent solution on how to view myself as virtuous while at the same time subscribing to and promoting the violence of the State. I finally reached the conclusion that it was not possible.
    Looks like you are not much different than other Statists with whom I have chatted. For whatever reason(s) at this point in your journey you have no interest in solving those internal contradictions between virtue and violence. But you do recognize that the contradictions are present within your mind. And for the moment that is what is important.

  26. Mano Singham says

    Quirky @#28,

    One argument is based on the state constitution that said that candidates can be elected by a plurality and do not need a majority. But I think the referendum overruled that.

    The other argument is more subtle, that preferential voting contradicts the ‘one person, one vote’ ideal because a person’s preferential votes results in them getting to vote more than once.

  27. Holms says

    “I’m not looking for debate. Just looking for a Statist that has both the moral consistency and the ability to provide evidence of such consistency…”
    Exactly, you demand that I engage with you on your pet subject to your satisfaction. You want arguments presented in my defense, which you will attack with your own arguments.

    This is called ‘debate’.

    And you continue to prove that you are a single issue zealot with every comment, and so my disinterest is continually affirmed. Call me whatever, I’m not interested in you.

  28. Quirky says

    Holms states, “And you continue to prove that you are a single issue zealot….”.

    Holms,, I am a 1st principle zealot, and if you would allow yourself to be honest, I bet you are too. I would wager that you and I could agree that all men and women should be held accountable to live by the same ethical standards. Problem is that can never occur within the paradigm of a Statist government in light of the fact that its foundations demand otherwise.
    One thing I do know about you; you are interested in the Truth.

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