One thing I like about ranked-choice voting is how it reminds me of ice cream.

My favorite flavor of ice cream is blueberry. If it’s also almost everyone else’s favorite, then it’s easy for most of us to agree about what to order. But if I am the only person who likes pistachio ice cream – if everyone else hates it – then the stores are going to drop that flavor.

What does this have to do with the opportunity next month for Maine residents to vote for the very first time in a ranked-choice voting election?

It means that if your first choice is the same as most Mainers’ first choice, then your favorite will win. But if your top choice is not so popular, don’t give up. List a second choice because it might have a chance. Same for your third choice. If your second choice, the Rocky Road flavor, turns out to have too much competition on Election Day, there is still a chance that your third choice, maple walnut, might win.

Of course, thanks to the secret ballot we do not know exactly how people are going to vote. So we need to list our choices up front on Election Day. Luckily, this totally legal system is available to help us make up our collective minds when we have three or more candidates to choose from.

On June 12, Republicans and Democrats get to vote for their favorite candidates in state primaries. In the same election, Republicans, Democrats and independents all get to vote for the opportunity to utilize ranked-choice voting in the future.

So to top it off, vote “yes” on Question 1 on June 12. It’s as easy as pie … or ice cream!

Mariana S. Tupper


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.