I am responding to several points raised in a recent Maine Voices by Gordon Weil. A full rebuttal is impossible in the constraints of the allotted space.

Mr. Weil’s conclusion that ranked-choice voting is too expensive is based on the wrong number. He includes the cost of upgrading the state’s software, which will happen regardless of whether ranked-choice voting is approved. State Treasurer Terry Hayes more accurately puts the incremental cost of implementing ranked-choice voting at approximately $550,000.

Mr. Weil apparently believes that Maine voters are not bright enough to understand the consequences of ranking candidates. As pointed out by Colby College political scientist Sandy Maisel, numerous studies “show that voters quickly understand ranked-choice voting and have little difficulty in ranking candidates.” The last two Portland municipal elections support that finding.

Mr. Weil is apparently satisfied with our electoral status quo and, by inference, the hyperpartisanship it engenders. However, he seems to prefer a runoff election to ranked-choice voting. The League of Women Voters of Maine concluded after studying the issue that runoffs extend the campaign season, drive up the cost of campaigns and produce a significant reduction in voter turnout. In addition, our brave servicemen and women overseas cannot participate in a runoff.

Mr. Weil criticizes ranked-choice voting by noting that it “may prove difficult for ideological candidates to gain backup support.” That is the very point of ranked-choice voting. If a candidate appeals only to the base and that base is not a majority, that candidate cannot win. Ranked-choice voting encourages reaching out beyond the base and, by definition, encourages compromise and civility from candidates.

The current election cycle has exposed us to the most vicious and substance-free contest in my memory. Ranked-choice voting provides an opportunity to reform our electoral process to encourage Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature.”

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