Does Equality Under the Law Apply to All Three Options on the Portland, Maine Homeless Shelter Ballot?

Mackenzie Andersen
4 min readNov 5, 2021

A rigged ballot in the homeless shelter planned for an Industrial Opportunity Zone?

a sheeple in front of a blackboard that says 2+2=5 Michal Matlon / Unsplash

Fore note: This is a follow-up story to Why Are Social Impact Investors Trying So Hard to Defeat Smaller Shelters for the Homeless?

According to the headline in NewsCenter Maine

Path towards 200-bed Homeless Services Center in Portland clears hurdles following referendum

The subtitle saysThe ballot measure looking to reduce capacity of emergency shelters in the city to 50 beds failed, receiving 31% of the vote

Point made!

Shelters limited to fifty beds in a room failed so that the project allowing 200 beds in a room can move ahead!

And therein lay the crux of the matter.

One might think from the headline that it was a two option- or a yes or no vote- such as a simple question: “ Do you want to limit the number of beds per room to fifty?”

Yes or No?

But that was not the case, as reported later in the story:

Unofficial election results for the City of Portland show option A received 31%, option B received roughly 28% of the vote, and option C received 41% of the vote. Both options A and B would have required more than 50% of the vote to be enacted.

Given the principle of equal justice under the law, if there are multiple options, all are treated equally under the law.

However, Central Maine News reports that the majority rule applies only to Options A & B.

But, the majority measurement is taken between the totals of A, B & C.

If the 50% majority is a measurement taken between two options, A or B. then the fifty-bed option is the winner.

When there are three options in a contest, which must be won by a majority vote, then there is no winner if none of the options receives a majority vote.

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Mackenzie Andersen

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