RE: Citizen initiative on Maine ballot this fall for ranked choice voting

With the myriad choices we face this year in our elections, few could be more important for Maine voters than the citizen intitative on the ballot to change our method of vote counting to ranked choice voting.

The last two gubernatorial elections have made it abundantly clear that the present system of “plurality wins” (note: it is not “majority wins”) is insufficient to truly represent the will of the people when it comes to electing a governor, or any other office. And with multiple candidates from more than just the two major parties entering into races statewide, we need a new system now more than ever.

Ranked choice voting is a system that Maine voters deserve – allowing voters to rank candidates running for office in order of preference.

On Election Night all the votes are counted for first choice rankings to determine who voters like the best, just like the system we have now. If any one candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round, they win, also just like now. However, if no candidate receives a majority in the first round, the candidate with the fewest “first choice” rankings is eliminated. If your favorite candidate is eliminated, your vote now counts for your second choice. This process is repeated until one candidate emerges with a majority of the vote, and that’s who wins the election.

This is clearly a better system than the one we have now, and it assures that the candidate with the greatest preference among the majority of voters will be elected. As we all face having to rebuild our system of politics on many levels – campaign financing, poltical party corruption, and voter registration limitations, let’s not forget that how we tabulate votes and the way we collect information on the ballots does have a significant impact on the outcome of our election process. I encourage you to vote yes on the ballot question for ranked choice voting, and let’s bring our voting system here in Maine into the 21st century.

Halsey W. Snow

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