Poliquin calls ranked-choice voting a “rip off” in testimony to Massachusetts Legislature

Congressman Bruce Poliquin gives a speech in Bangor.

BOSTON, MA – Former Congressman Bruce Poliquin is actively working to warn voters across the country about the perils of ranked-choice voting, calling RCV the “biggest voter rip-off in Maine history.”

Poliquin recently testified to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Election Laws about a proposal on Beacon Hill to impose ranked-choice voting in future Massachusetts elections.

Yesterday, Poliquin also took to the airwaves on the Boston-based Howie Carr show to talk about ranked-choice voting.

Following is Poliquin’s testimony:

Dear Chairmen Finegold and Lawn, and Honorable Members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Election Laws,

From January 2015 to January 2019, I served the honest and hard-working families of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. This mostly rural west, central, north, and downeast areas of our Great State is the largest geographic District east of the Mississippi River.

In 2014, I won ME-02 as the first Republican in twenty years, since the former Senator Olympia Snowe represented it. During my last to years in Congress, I was the only GOP Member in the U.S. House. This, now, highly competitive swing district is a perennial battleground for control of Congress.

On Election Day 2018, I won my second re-election by receiving 2,200 more votes than any of my three liberal opponents, one Democrat and two Independents. After nine days of vote counting chaos, the Maine Secretary of State awarded the seat to the Democrat candidate who came in second place in the only federal election in the nation subjected to the unfair rank voting scam.

Rank voting has proven to be the biggest voter rip-off in Maine history. For nearly 200 years, we have elected our federal, state, and local officials by each voter casting one vote, with the candidate receiving the most votes on Election Day the winner.

The confusing rank voting process is not a Maine idea. It was brought to our State by liberal out-of-state political activists wanting to game our system in order to win more elections. After 40 years of Democrat control until 2010, they were searching for a way stack the deck and return their majority. Funded in part by Texas billionaire John Arnold, formally an Enron executive before its bankruptcy, and billionaire George Soros, liberal activists took advantage of our lenient referendum process and collected the necessary signatures to put rank voting on the ballot. Then, they swamped the public discussion with tv and radio ads, robo-calls, mailers, yard signs, door knocking, and so on in order to fool enough Mainers to abandon our Constitutional one person, one vote system.

The Maine State Legislature tried to stop the imposition of rank voting but was overwhelmed by the big-money out-of-state special interests. In the end, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District voters rejected rank voting twice, but statewide it passed with only 26% of registered voters – hardly a majority endorsement.

The two-year pro-rank voting campaign promised Maine voters three “improvements” to the common sense one person, one vote method we’ve used to elect our public officials for 200 years: (1) it would get big money out of political campaigns; (2) campaigns would become more civil; and (3) the winning candidate would receive more than 50% of the votes cast.

All three proved to be untrue. There was approximately $24 million spent in our 2018 campaign, including candidate and Super PAC money. I believe the national average for a Congressional race is $3 million. The horrible campaign was the nastiest on record up here. And, in the end, the rank vote fraud “winner“ received less than 50% of the votes cast.

There are a few other important facts worth mentioning about our real-life experience with the rank voting scam. First, we asked the Secretary of State to let our campaign attorneys inspect the computer black box algorithm for vote counting accuracy. He refused citing trademark secrecy by the vendor who sold Maine the system. This first-in-the-nation voting counting experiment was conducted in the dark and unable to be verified for accuracy.

Second, there was an unusually large number of “spoiled” ballots resulting from the chaotic process.

Third, our Maine Supreme Court ruled rank voting unconstitutional to select state officials in general elections, such as the Governor and Maine Legislators. Still, the Secretary of State allowed it to be used to elect federal office holders.

Fourth, the voters who selected the losing 3nd and 4th place finishers as their first choice got another bite of the apple and pushed the Congressional seat to the 2nd place finisher. So, those voters who cast their primary ballots for the two candidates who least represent the ME-02 values ended up choosing the rank vote winner. Very misguided and unfair.

Lastly, a poll conducted after the election dust had settled confirmed that the rank vote confusion was the #1 reason (26%) why Republicans who did not to go to the polls chose not to vote – a glaring instance of voter suppression, unintended or not. Not a day goes by without a fellow Mainer stopping me in the grocery store or at Dunkin Donuts to complain about the unfair and confusing process, and angry about his or her sacred vote not counting.

I hope our great friends and neighbors to the south, the fine People of Massachusetts, reject the broken promises, confusion, and voter fraud inherent in rank voting. Don’t be hoodwinked like we were.


Bruce Poliquin
Former Congressman Maine’s 2nd District

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