I often tell young people, “Make sure that your choices will be ones that will lead to positive results in your life.”

In 2013, former state Sen. Dick Woodbury, working with the League of Women Voters, developed a proposal, which became The Citizen Referendum on Ranked Choice Voting. More than 70,000 voters made a choice to sign the referendum petition at polling places around the state in 2014. On March 15, 2016, the Legislature made a choice to send the measure directly to referendum, where it will appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 8.

Those two choices now make it possible for Maine citizens to vote on the Ranked Choice Voting referendum.

At a meeting I attended recently, when the presenter from the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting displayed a sample ballot where three individuals were running for the same position, it quickly became clear how Ranked Choice Voting works. A responsible hypothetical voter would have already studied the issues and the candidates, and decided who is his/her first choice, second choice and third choice. When this voter steps into the voter station, the ballot will allow the voter to indicate his/her choices on the ballot. After the ballots are counted, it would become clear which of the three candidates received the fewest votes, and that candidate would be eliminated. Voters who chose the now-eliminated candidate have their ballots added to the totals of their second-ranked candidate. For all other voters, their first choice still counts.

Dick Woodbury pointed out several reasons why we should support Ranked Choice Voting:

• The elected candidate is chosen by a majority of voters.

• There are no “spoilers.” If a candidate turns out not to be electable, then he/she is eliminated in the counting process.

• Voters can cast their vote for a preferred candidate without the strategic dilemma of potentially helping a candidate they oppose.

• By avoiding spoiler candidates and strategic voting, the entire messaging of campaigns, media coverage and public evaluation of candidates will focus on issues, vision, experience and capabilities; not on polling and electability.

• Candidates know they can’t win by speaking only to their base, or by tearing down their opponents; this encourages more positive campaigns.

The question that will appear on our ballot is: “Do you want to change Maine election law to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate and State Representative?”

The advantages of this process are many and clear. You can learn more about this process by going to Committee for Ranked Choice Voting website: http://www.rcvmaine.com

Others before us have made choices that now allow Maine voters to step into the voting stations on Nov. 8 and make a choice that will have long-lasting and positive results for the state of Maine. You have the choice to vote “yes” for Ranked Choice Voting.


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