At long last, Mainers are getting their way. Despite opposition from people who don’t think Mainers know what they want, party members get to elect primary candidates by ranked choice on June 12, and on the same day, all of us get to support statewide Question 1, reaffirming that we really meant it when we voted for ranked-choice voting in November 2016.

Primary ballots will have a list of candidates as usual, but in races with more than two candidates you will get to rate your first, second, third, etc., choice among the candidates presented to you on the ballot.

Ranked-choice voting is completely nonpartisan. It was first introduced in the Legislature in 2001, when Angus King was governor; again in 2007, with Republican support, after John Baldacci was re-elected by less than a majority; and then again with Paul LePage as governor. Maine has a strong history of independents and third-party candidates, which often results in vote-splitting. Considering the long list of candidates running in each party in this year’s primary, this is a perfect time to use this simple but more democratic way of choosing each party’s nominee.

Opponents have said that ranked-choice voting is too expensive. But full, separate runoff elections (which are often poorly attended) are more expensive than the ranked-choice voting “instant runoff.”

Ranked-choice voting is simple. Studies and experience show that people have no problem understanding ranked-choice voting ballots, and we already use multiple types of ballots. For example, ballots for local boards and committees allow us to vote for multiple candidates. A wealth of information is available on the League of Women Voters website ( for those who want to learn more.

If you want to preserve ranked-choice voting for future elections, vote “yes” on Question 1 on June 12.

Denise Schwartz


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