Letter to the editor: RCV upends politics as usual



To the Editor:

Re: As Maine Goes, the editorial on Jan. 16, while outright political promoting is no new thing to see in editorials, your promoting of Gideon/Collins is exceptionally so.

This may be just a case of politics as usual, but it is wrongly eclipsing of the other viable candidates from mention.

Why? For one thing, this election is remarkable. It is a new chance for us, the voting public, to hear about choices for a representative for our interests, who may actually stand a chance, due to ranked choice voting (RCV).

A poll recently came out with Collins listed as the least popular Senator in the U.S. Senate. That takes some doing, for us Mainers to finally grow weary of Collins, and it makes for a vulnerable incumbent and an exciting race, as you pointed out, involving lots of outside money.

When I ran against Collins in 2008, against her war record and economic policies, there was no such thing as RCV. I had to deal with unfair practices and exclusion from the ballot.

I fought this through three Maine courts, in what was called the worst ballot access decision ever made by Ballot Access News. It’s daunting for a regular citizen to take a stand, and to make a dent, by running against “monied” incumbents or their “monied” opposition.

Independents who are not ‘bought’ by special interests have classically been trivialized at best or else entirely omitted from mention, at worst, in the places they depend upon to reach voters.

I refer to the print news. To have seen a paper defining the race as a two-person race would have seemed outrageous a hurdle for me to overcome in 2008 and it was. I fought hard for a scrap of mention, in papers all over the state.

I can only imagine how Lisa Savage, the Independent Green Party Candidate must react when seeing this, or any of the other candidates, who, like Lisa, deserve to be regarded as viable and important to consider in this race.

We have laws protecting election fairness. They need strong enforcement. Do we also need laws to get newspapers to properly demonstrate early, respectful, inclusive and fair reporting? It remains to be seen.

We in Maine must be able to have informed choices, so we can lead by example to the rest of the nation. As Maine Goes …

Laurie Dobson

Cranberry Isles

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