The original Maine Constitution of 1820 called for majority votes in order to elect our governor and other leaders. In 1880, after a three-way race for governor resulted in nobody getting the majority and two candidates claiming victory, the state constitution was changed to require only a plurality in order to elect a leader.

Today, with computers counting our votes, it is possible to achieve majority support for our elected officials through instant runoff methods, such as ranked-choice voting. The people of Maine voted to do just this in November 2016.

Our Maine Supreme Judicial Court has said that ranking our choices is constitutional for general elections for Congress and for primaries, but it cannot be used at this time in general elections for state offices. A majority of Mainers are ready and eager to use ranked-choice ballots in elections where they’re permitted, but our Legislature has delayed its use for four years.

People no longer trust our leaders, who, in many cases, ignore the will of the people. Approval of our Congress in Washington is at an all-time low. How are we to choose the best leaders when we have 10 candidates in a primary and one can win with just 12 percent of the vote, or when we have three candidates in a race that can be won by 35 percent? Requiring majority votes would result in wider support for our elected leaders.

Jan. 19 is the deadline to sign a petition telling the Legislature we will use ranked-choice voting now, in elections where it is constitutional. Volunteers are braving the cold to make the petitions available. If you want majority support for our leaders, please sign.

Victoria Adams

West Kennebunk