Jill Ward (Maine Voices, June 11) makes some good points about election reform, but ranked-choice voting isn’t the answer. The goal – to elect candidates whom the true majority prefer – is a noble one. And Ward is right that Americans want honest democracy with more participation. Our officeholders should earn the majority of the people’s support.

However, we vote for governor and legislators from fields of three to five many times and get plurality winners. So how can we give all worthy candidates a shot and get a people’s choice majority winner? An open primary.

Ranked-choice is a referendum question and should be rejected. It creates a false majority winner when there is no majority winner. Voters must select for each office their first-, second- and third-ranked choices instead of the one best person.

Such a system will make voting more confusing without an outright winner. It’s like college football, with the final four “ranked” teams qualifying instead of an open playoff. Under ranked-choice, voters must learn the positions of all the candidates, compare them and then devise a ranking for each office.

The Maine Legislature should instead adopt an open primary, under which all candidates for office – Democrats, Republicans and independents – compete in a June primary. The top two vote-getters for each office face off in November. All contenders get an equal shot, choice is preserved and a true majority winner is realized. With all eligible voters able to take part in June and November, the will of all the people is better served.

Maine’s largest voting bloc is independents, and with our history of selecting good lawmakers regardless of party, we should embrace this inclusive reform. No more plurality winners, no complicated rankings. Just one vote for the best choice. True democracy found.


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