2016-08-11 / Letters

Ranked choice is the way to go

To the editor:

I am writing in support of Question 5 on ranked choice voting, a common sense reform to our voting system that gives power back to the voters and makes politicians more accountable. The process is simple: When voting, you get to rank candidates running for an office in order of your individual preference. All first choice rankings are tallied, and if no candidate meets the 50 percent plus one threshold, the last place candidate is eliminated and their supporters have their next choices activated and assigned among the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority of support. There have been a lot of comments this election season, from both conservatives and liberals, to vote your conscience. This system allows you to do that without fear and without feeling like your vote was wasted.

Because Maine has a history of several strong candidates running for office, many elections are decided by a plurality of votes, rather than a majority. The winners in nine of the last 11 gubernatorial elections did not receive a majority. Because of this, the League of Women Voters of Maine convened a study in 2008 to consider alternative voting systems, and in 2011, endorsed ranked choice voting as the best system.

Though skeptics believe it would be too difficult to implement, Portland has successfully implemented it for its local elections. What better way to use our “as Maine goes, so goes the nation” influence to champion this system? It will be a long road to ranked choice voting for larger contests, the presidency especially, but there is no place like Maine to start that transition.

To learn more about this nonpartisan initiative, visit http://www.lwvme.org/RCV.html.

Abigail Cioffi


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