Linda Valentino

As a former Maine, Democratic legislator from 2004-2012, I had a bird’s eye view of both the governing and political process during those years.

I was one of those who didn’t give Ranked Choice Voting a favorable recommendation when it first found its way into the statehouse. I thought it would be confusing, costly and burdensome.

I have as they say “evolved” on this issue and feel it is the right reform at the right time and most importantly something citizens have demanded repeatedly. My initial concerns also revolved around the town clerks who seemed wary of this change to an established system and that impacted my thinking as well.

I was on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee when Ethan Strimling introduced this bill.  Ranked Choice Voting has been used in Portland for the past several elections without problems.

Votes have been tabulated and winners declared. RCV has proven to work well and gives voters greater choice.

From the district, neighboring Senator Valentino’s, as a current legislator, I have been an active part of the debate on Ranked Choice Voting.  I have represented part of Biddeford in the House of Representatives since 2014.

During my time in Augusta, voters have passed RCV not once but twice.

In 2016, the voters passed it by the second largest margin in the state’s history.  Still, the approach faced challenges and was blocked by

Marty Grohman

members in the House.  But supporters were not daunted, and picked up pens and petitions and submitted 80 thousand signatures to get RCV back on the ballot in June of 2018 using the People’s Veto process.

The voters have spoken loudly, strongly and often about their desire to implement this important reform. We have watched the Secretary of State’s office talk about the money it will cost to implement, the difficulty voters will have in using the system and that it will create election tabulation challenges.

I must respectfully disagree. This reform is a very practical solution. Ranking your choices is something we do every day – it’s a very natural process.

But the biggest reason, I believe, the voters of Maine support Ranked Choice Voting is that it allows them to vote for their preferred candidate without concern that their vote is a ‘spoiler.’

Historically in Maine, campaigns have more than two candidates. That’s a good thing. One person is usually singled out as the spoiler – when in fact everyone has a right to run in this country. There is no such thing as a spoiler. Changing the mindset of spoiler and strategic voting is critical to counter the party extremes.

We have watched as more and more people have gone to their respective political corners and refused to work on behalf of the people and instead gravitate to partisan extremes. This means less governance and more partisanship.

Ranked Choice Voting is a good sound policy, supported by the public not once but twice, and is on the ballot again on Tuesday June 12, an election in which every voter can vote, not just those enrolled in a political party.

Linda Valentino of Saco is a former Democratic State Senator representing Maine’s 5th District.

Marty Grohman of Biddeford is an independent currently representing District 12 in the Maine of Representatives.

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