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People question if Maine's governor-elect was given an mandate

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November 15, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

AUGUSTA, Maine: As Paul LePage was elected Maine's Governor on November 2, 2010, some people question if the newly elected Governor was given an mandate from the people[1].

In the 2010 election, LePage won 38 percent in a five-way race for Governor. Since 1986, the only time a gubernatorial candidate won with a majority was in 1998 when Angus King won a five-way race with 59 percent of the vote. One candidate has pressed for instant runoff voting for future gubernatorial elections. Elliot Cutler, an independent candidate, said that instant runoff voting would better represent an consensus of Maine voters. Elections involving instant runoff requires voters to rank candidates in successive ballots. A winner would be determined after a candidate gets a clear majority[1].

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told the Portland Press-Herald that there is a strong movement for instant runoff voting in Maine. However, Dunlap expressed concern if the state adopted the same runoff procedure that Southern states do. Maine's top election official said that it could cost the state over $200,000 to print the ballots. Also, millions of dollars in added costs could hit the over 500 municipalities that run elections[1].

The movement for instant runoff voting won the backing of Portland voters on November 2, 2010. Voters approved a referendum for instant runoff voting in future Mayoral elections. Also, the League of Young Voters has fully endorsed the concept of instant runoff voting, but the League of Women Voters has not yet endorsed the concept. Instant runoff voting will be given its first chance in Portland's 2011 Mayoral election[1].

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