Despite being a longtime supporter of ranked-choice voting, I had some sympathy for Joe Mackey’s Jan. 1 Maine Voices op-ed advocating open primaries as a superior electoral reform.

However, I can see no justification for changing over from one reform technique to another at this time. As an unenrolled (i.e., independent) voter, I share many of Mr. Mackey’s goals for a better way of electing people to political office, but I don’t feel that ranked-choice voting has received a thorough enough test of its alleged faults or benefits.

I have no doubt that it can be “gamed” through devious political maneuvers, but I have yet to see a voting system that cannot be gamed. That includes Mr. Mackey’s open primaries, in which a party that has an uncontested candidate can have all its voters cast their votes in the opposing party’s primary to make sure that the other party’s weakest possible candidate wins its nomination.

Besides, ranked-choice voting has only recently come into use, and we all have a lot to learn about how well it will provide the promised and hoped-for benefits for Maine. If we eventually find that it’s not providing those benefits, it is then, and only then, that we should start looking at replacement reform techniques.

Charlie Graham


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