This past summer, I attended a Westbrook City Council meeting where one of the motions being voted on was whether or not to allow citizens to decide if they wanted to adopt ranked-choice voting in municipal elections. This was not a vote approving or disapproving ranked-choice voting. This was simply a vote to place the question on this year’s ballot so that we the people could decide for ourselves.

There was no procedural reason why ranked-choice voting shouldn’t be placed on the ballot, and of the councilors in attendance and voting on this measure, all but one voted in favor of the motion. The one member who voted no was Gary Rairdon.

He did not hide the fact that he disapproves of ranked-choice voting, but that was not the question before him and other members of the council. The question was should Westbrook voters be allowed to choose for themselves come November. Other members of the council understood that while he obviously did not.

Gary Rairdon has issues with ranked-choice voting and in his vote to oppose putting the question on the November ballot he was in essence saying, “I disapprove of ranked-choice voting and I don’t want the citizens of Westbrook to have the freedom to make that choice for themselves.”

That vote was a betrayal of democracy. That vote was an insidious form of voter suppression. That vote was a small first step toward autocracy.

Thankfully, on Election Day, Westbrook citizens will be able to decide whether or not they want ranked-choice voting. Gary Rairdon didn’t want us to have that choice. Perhaps Ward 4 should choose someone else to represent them.

Glenn Dudley