The more I learn about ranked choice voting, the more I like it:
- Of the past 11 gubernatorial elections, nine were decided by less than half the voters, leaving us with weak leadership. Ranked choice voting solves the problem of weak leadership because the majority of people have given that leader their votes. This means the Legislature will be well-positioned to overcome gridlock and partisanship in order to prioritize the well-being of the Maine people.
- When there are three or more candidates, there is usually a range of political perspectives represented, from one extreme to moderate, to the other extreme. Ranked choice voting helps moderate the extremes by electing candidates who are more likely to represent the best ideas from both sides of the political spectrum. Voters are more apt to have some of their attitudes reflected in this system, as opposed to the “winner take all” system we have today.
As voters have reported for years, negative campaigning is nasty and alienating. Ranked choice voting makes campaigns less negative because the candidates must appeal to a wider spectrum of the population in order to win a majority votes. In a ranked choice election, candidates would have to run respectful, issues-based campaigns because a nasty “my way or the highway” campaigner would have their support restricted to a small subset of the electorate, and therefore would be unlikely to receive the second choice support required to win an election in a multi-candidate field.
In a ranked choice system, there are no “spoiler” candidates, meaning that candidates who are not beholden to the two majority parties can run for office free from the “protest” label that has dogged these candidates for a number of years. Likewise, this system gives voters the power to support their favorite candidates, without the fear of inadvertently helping to elect their least favorite candidates.
I am voting for ranked choice voting with confidence that it is a better system. It has been used successfully in municipal elections across the country and at the federal level in countries across the world. If you have any questions, go to www.fairvotemaine.org.
Nancy P. Alexander, Ellsworth