Poliquin Criticizes Ranked-Choice Voting During Visit to the College

by James Burnett

Former Congressman Poliquin Poses for a Picture with Members of the Colby Republicans

Former Congressman Bruce Poliquin visited the College to discuss ranked-choice voting (RCV) on April 2. During the talk, he repeatedly stated that RCV is a “complete scam.”

According to the Morning Sentinel, Poliquin said that RCV “was not introduced to get the best candidate. It was introduced by liberal activists and Democratic activists to make sure they win elections in the state of Maine.”

In 2018, Poliquin filed a lawsuit against the state’s RCV system after he lost Maine’s Second District congressional election to Democrat Jared Golden. After two courts ruled against Poliquin, he dropped his legal challenge.

The event was hosted by the Colby Republicans. In an email to the Echo, Colby Republicans Co-Presidents Meredith Allen ’21 and Krisy McNichol ’21 said Poliquin’s talk “engaged both Colby students and Waterville locals in an open dialogue that allowed for an exchange of different views.”

The co-presidents explained that Mr. Poliquin “laid out a comprehensive argument for why he believes RCV is not the best choice for Maine.” They added that “Poliquin believes RCV does not fulfill its promise of keeping big money out of politics and instead leads to inefficiency, as the outcome of his race was unknown for nine days.”

Allen and McNichol decided to invite Poliquin to the College after the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs sponsored an event on RCV which they found to be one-sided. They thought that Poliquin would be the perfect speaker since “he has first-hand experience with RCV.”

The co-presidents also thought that “inviting a conservative figure to campus would provide students with an opportunity to engage with beliefs and ideas that they are not normally exposed to at Colby.” They explained that “students learn best when they can grapple with ideas that may challenge their own beliefs.”

Co-president of the Colby Democrats Zack Mishoulam ’19 said in an email to the Echo that he went to Poliquin’s talk because he “felt it was important to hear different viewpoints, as listening and observing are essential aspects of our democracy.” However, Mishoulam said that he personally does not agree with Poliquin’s views.

Local Engagement Chair of the Colby Democrats Carolyn Jones ’19 went to the event because she is a supporter of RCV and wanted to hear what Poliquin had to say. Although she disagreed with Poliquin’s view of RCV, she’s glad she went “to understand how other people view the system.”