The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
 
News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In
OccupyBoston_1000x50

Last choice

Voter suppression
By AL DIAMON  |  October 5, 2011

It's an outrage that a small group of devious political insiders has been allowed to manipulate the democratic process in a blatant attempt to restrict voting rights. Fair-minded people of all ideological persuasions should be banding together before it's too late to thwart this unconscionable plot to undermine the electoral process.

Huh? No, I'm not referring to the Republican Party's clumsy efforts to ban voter registration on election day, a move the Democrats are clumsily trying to overturn with a People's Veto vote in November.

I can't imagine why you'd think that.

The voter-suppression campaign I'm referring to is one that seems to be favored by lots of Democrats, Greens, and other liberals, at least the ones who live in Portland (motto: A Republican? I Think We Used To Have A Republican. Hey, Does Anybody Remember Where We Put The Token Republican?)

This plan was originally called Let's Create A Ballot So Complicated That Only Elite Types With Advanced Degrees From The Finest Universities Will Be Able To Successfully Fill It Out, Thereby Disenfranchising High School Graduates, Community College Losers, And Anyone Who Works For A Living And Doesn't Have The Time Or Money To Take An Eight-Hour Course Explaining The Process.

As names go, that one was deemed a bit too lengthy, not to mention demeaning to voters with the sort of practical knowledge that might allow them to follow ridiculously complex directions, even without a Ph.D. You know, idiot savants and those annoying people who can make all the features on their smart phones work.

The result was a re-branding of the plan. It's now called "ranked choice voting" or, for short, just "rank." It'll be used this fall to choose the new mayor of Portland.

When I say "used," I mean, of course, only by the refined folks who understand it, which is to say those citizens who've always felt that they, by virtue of their superior intelligence and social standing, should be in charge of the city. Fortunately for them, they've finally installed a system that virtually assures that.

To understand how they pulled that off, you'd have to have a solid grasp of how ranked choice works. Since that's close to impossible for people dumb enough to be reading this column instead of enriching their intellects with the New York Times or National Public Radio, you'll just have to take what I say on faith. Which is:

Ranked choice voting is going to deny a lot of people in Portland their right to decide who gets the mayor's job.

If you don't believe me, check out the sample ballot (it's atwww.portlandmaine.gov/voter/11082011ballot.pdf, but you'll have to scroll way down to find it). It looks like something designed by a rogue Internal Revenue Service agent intent on compelling all taxpayers to throw up their hands and scream, "Take all my money. Just take it and leave me to starve in peace, with the last shreds of my sanity intact."

This cleverly constructed form has 15 candidates listed, each with 15 options allowing voters to rank them from their first choice to their last by filling in the proper circle. That amounts to a mere 225 potential choices. But be careful. If you accidentally mark two different mayoral wannabes as your second choice, that invalidates most of your ballot. If you rank a candidate more than once, only the highest score counts. If you skip a rating, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If you rank Charles Bragdon anywhere in the top 10, you'll be committed to an asylum.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Politics, elections, Voting,  More more >
| More
4 Comments / Add Comment

Jennifer Bragdon

It seems to me Mr. Diamon you have some personal issues that you must work out with yourself, as you do not personally know Charles Bragdon. You have never talked to him at anytime nor interviewed him.

You are a satire reporter and anyone that reads your articles should remember what kind of reporter that you are. You slam anyone that doesn't bow down to you and agrees with you. So if anyone believes what you say they need to be committed to an asylum.

Charlie Bragdon is more of a man than you are as he is a wonderful husband, hardworking man, loving and caring father and loves his hometown Portland. He isn't running for any party, he is running so that the citizens of Portland can have their voice heard in the city council.

Sincerely Charlie Bragdon's wife, Jennifer Bragdon
Posted: October 06 2011 at 1:27 PM

Charles Bragdon

Al I would like to say this was a well written, thought provoking piece of journalism, but I won't because it isn't. You apparently feel the need to bash me for loving Portland enough to dedicate My time and energy to steering our city in a positive direction. This absolutely amazes me considering the fact that you have never met or spoken to me. I personally feel that you have inferiority issues you need to work on and I hope you are seeking professional help for that.
I however am glad that we have ranked choice voting as it will the first time in Maine's history that we will have an elected official chosen by a true majority without having to hold several run off elections. This saves the taxpayers and voters considerable time and money.You may think it is complicated and that Portlanders are too stupid to get it, but I think you will see it is not complicated at all to the majoroty of voters. If you think by having to make more than one choice it complicates and confuses things. If you truly believe that then you must have a nervous breakdown when you go to have an ice cream cone and discover they don't have you favorite, so you will have to pick from the other choices. Either way, I am confident the voters who know me will still understand your opinion is irrelevant as your thinking is outdated, biased and not very well informed.
I hope you get to eat your useless words come this November when Portlanders prove that ranked choice voting is indeed as choosing you favorite ice cream flavors.
Posted: October 06 2011 at 2:14 PM

Charles Bragdon

Al,
I would like to say this was a well written, thought provoking piece of journalism, but I won't because it isn't. You apparently feel the need to bash me for loving Portland enough to dedicate My time and energy to steering our city in a positive direction.

This absolutely amazes me considering the fact that you have never met or spoken to me. I personally feel that you have inferiority issues you need to work on and I hope you are seeking professional help for that.

I however am glad that we have ranked choice voting as it will be the first time in Maine's history that we will have an elected official chosen by a true majority without having to hold several run off elections. This saves the taxpayers and voters considerable time and money.

You may think it is complicated and that Portlanders are too stupid to get it, but I think you will see it is not complicated at all to the majoroty of voters. If you think by having to make more than one choice it complicates and confuses things then it may be you that has the problem. If you truly believe that then you must have a nervous breakdown when you go to have an ice cream cone and discover they don't have your favorite, so you will have to pick from the other choices. Either way, I am confident the voters who know me will still understand your opinion is irrelevant as your thinking is outdated, biased and not very well informed.

I hope you get to eat your useless words come this November when Portlanders prove that ranked choice voting is indeed as easy as choosing your favorite ice cream flavors and they are smart enough to do that as well.

Charles E Bragdon
Editor, The Portland Maine Gazette
and Portland Mayoral Candidate
Posted: October 06 2011 at 2:27 PM

Mysteries of the Universe

Thanks Al.

I never knew how complicated RCV was until I read Diamon's column. I used to think I understood how to vote with RCV. It seemed pretty simple. But now I'm confused. But it's good to know that there are some election shenanigans that the Republicans aren't sponsoring.

I'm gonna to have to ask my neighbor when he gets out of school today what those instructions on the ballot mean:

-- Fill in no more than one oval per candidate.
-- Fill in no more than one oval per column.

If they don't cover that sort of thing in fourth grade, I might have to get help from my sixth-grade niece.

If I don't get this figured out by election day, I'm calling the IRS to ask for a refund on my college loans.
Posted: October 10 2011 at 2:48 PM
Add Comment
HTML Prohibited

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 10/14 ]   "22nd Drawing Show: Residue"  @ Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts
[ 10/14 ]   Bhakti  @ Dance Complex
[ 10/14 ]   Deadmau5  @ House of Blues
ARTICLES BY AL DIAMON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   OUT OF CONTROL  |  October 12, 2011
    Would you want a business like this in your town?
  •   LAST CHOICE  |  October 05, 2011
    It's an outrage that a small group of devious political insiders has been allowed to manipulate the democratic process in a blatant attempt to restrict voting rights.
  •   FROM A DISTANCE  |  September 28, 2011
    Moosehorn Crossing is a long way from . . . well . . . pretty much anywhere.
  •   STRANGER THAN KNOWN  |  September 21, 2011
    In politics, things don't have to make sense. If they did, there'd be no excuse for the Tea Party, Democrat Jon Hinck's US Senate campaign, or Republican State Committee chairman Charlie Webster's existence.
  •   LIQUOR BLUES  |  September 14, 2011
    "For great sale prices, there's no place like Maine."

 See all articles by: AL DIAMON

MOST POPULAR
RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed