Despite his best efforts to keep this complicated, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has confirmed that voters can choose either to fill in one oval for a candidate or vote straight across in each round for one candidate under RCV and their vote will “stick” to that candidate through the end.
Yesterday, we asked Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to issue a clarification to Maine’s election clerks and the public on the issue of the instructions he printed on Maine’s ballots contradicting his office’s website.
Sadly, instead of issuing a concise clarification that voters can either fill in one oval for a candidate or fill in the ovals all the way across for the same candidate without disqualifying their ballot, as we have told voters, Secretary Dunlap chose to bury that part of his “clarification” in paragraph 10 of his statement.
Why did Secretary Dunlap place this instruction at the end of his statement, burying it under 400 words in 9 paragraphs of commentary to muddy the waters for voters when the answer was so simple?
Let us be clear, we have told voters on our website that either voting method is acceptable.
These two RCV voting methods have been by far the majority of questions we have fielded this year.
Our position is that either way works. We have advised people in a mailer to vote for President Trump all the way across the ballot. This is what his team feels is the safest, strongest way to vote for him.
Our concerns about the ballot go beyond partisan accusations. In the case of a close election and recount with manual ballot review, voter intent is undeniable if you vote straight across for one candidate.
In the case of a scanning failure on a ballot in the first column, a second place vote for the same candidate locks in your choice.
We saw in 2018 that Secretary Dunlap’s couriers were delivering ballot boxes to Augusta without padlocks on them. This caused us great concern. Voting straight across the ballot for Trump decreases the likelihood of anyone tampering with a ballot.
These are not foolish games we are playing and Secretary Dunlap needs to recognize this. As the top election official in a swing state that will choose the leader of the free world, it is Secretary Dunlap’s sacred duty to get this right.
We once again call on Secretary Dunlap to issue a clarification to all Maine election clerks that the method of filling in the oval for the same candidate across an RCV ballot is acceptable – just as he states on the Maine Secretary of State website.