Easy as 1, 2, 3: How to make your vote pack a progressive punch in Maine on June 12th

After eight years of Paul LePage in the Blaine House, Mainers are ready for a serious change.

This year’s governor’s race offers progressive voters in Maine an unprecedented opportunity to make our state a fairer place to live.

Add your name: Pledge a progressive vote in the Maine Democratic Primary.

Mainers deserve a state that works for the many instead of just the fortunate few. We want a democracy where everyone has a vote and a voice, and an economy where everyone can thrive. We want to break down the systems that have held back women, immigrants, and people of color in our state for too long.

This year, there are three candidates running for Governor (out of the seven Democratic candidates) who we believe truly live up to those progressive values. There’s Betsy Sweet, who is running on a clean elections platform. There’s Mark Eves, a family therapist who championed healthcare and affordable housing during his term as Speaker of the Maine House. And there’s Diane Russell, a former state representative and long-time organizer. Any of them would help Maine get closer to our progressive vision.

For too long progressive voters have been told that the only way reclaim the governorship is by nominating moderates who will meet Republicans halfway, even when Mainers clearly want something bolder. This is the same logic that brought us the roll back of minimum wage hikes or tax cuts for the wealthy.

We believe voters respond best to bold ideas and a real vision for the future. And this year, we have a new path to elect a progressive champion to the top office in Maine. That’s because Maine’s Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 12, presents a new and better way to pick a nominee.

It’s called ‘ranked choice voting,’ and here’s how it works.

Normally, a seven-way primary with several strong progressive candidates like this one would be a disaster for progressive voters. All of the candidates would have a hard time breaking through, and each candidate has an interest in tearing the others down to build themselves up. The result is that the debate will inevitable get bogged down in arguments about viability alone — with any discussion of values and vision left by the wayside. Progressives would end split their votes among the three progressive candidates, and no single progressive candidate would be able to beat the frontrunner Janet Mills, the less progressive candidate.

In most elections that would be it, and we would have lost. But under the new ranked choice voting system, progressive candidates and their supporters don’t have to tear each other down. If we are strategic, we can actually build strength together.

Here’s how it works. Ranked choice voting is exactly what it sounds like: voters are able to rank their preferences for candidates from first to last. The weakest candidates are eliminated, and the votes of voters who ranked them number 1 will be moved to their number 2 choice.

That means that if progressive voters ranked the more conservative front-runner Mills as their second or third choice, even if they don’t vote for her first, she will quickly get to 50% of the votes in just a few rounds. But if progressives voters instead rank the other two progressive candidates in their number 2 and 3 slots, the votes get pooled as the rounds continue.

That will create a consolidated bloc of progressive votes, and give us our best shot to win.

This doesn’t mean voters have to abandon their favorite candidate. Quite the contrary. Vote for whichever of the progressive candidates you like best first. But then pay close attention to who is getting your next votes too.

This is a plan that will let progressives win. But for it to work, we have to spread the word. Share this post with your friends, family, and networks of progressive voters.

The Working Families Party has proudly endorsed Betsy Sweet, Mark Eves, and Diane Russell for Governor. Vote for them all first, second, and third, in whatever order you like best. Together we can elect the kind of strong progressive champion Mainers deserve.

Add your name: Pledge a progressive vote in the Maine Democratic Primary.

Paid for by the Working Families Party National Independent Expenditure Committee, 1 MetroTech, Brooklyn, NY. Not paid for or authorized by any candidate.