Letter: "Maine needs to update voting system"

Journal Tribune

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In the past 40 years, Maine has elected a majority winning governor only twice.  Consequently, our current system of plurality voting has yielded victories for minority winners nine times!  We need to consider a better system to elect our leaders--one that would benefit candidates of all parties, and more importantly, benefit Maine voters.

What's wrong with plurality voting?  It only works when there are two candidates.  When three or more candidates run for office and similar candidates split the support of like-minded voters, a less popular candidate often wins the race.

Ranked choice voting would reduce vote splitting, while avoiding the time and expense of a run-off election.  Furthermore, it would reduce negative campaigning! You heard that right--by competing for first and second choice votes, candidates must appeal to a wider range of supporters.  Therefore, they must stick to what's most important to the voters--the issues.

Here's how ranked choice voting works: Voters would be asked to rank their choices on their ballots. If one candidate has the majority of votes after the first place votes are tallied, that person wins.  If no candidate gets a majority of first-place votes, the person with the fewest votes is eliminated.  And if your candidate is eliminated, your vote is transferred to your second choice between the two remaining candidates--ensuring that our politicians are elected with a majority of the vote.

Take a moment to examine Maine's unique political history--a state where it is commonplace to have three-way races for office. Currently, we are operating within an out-dated, outmoded and inefficient electoral system that divides our government and exacerbates the culture of hyper partisanship that has plagued our politics for too long.   

In November of 2016, voters will have an opportunity to modernize the way we vote and ensure that our elected officials receive a mandate from the people to do their job. Let's get this right.  Join me in supporting the campaign for ranked choice voting.

 

Bob Mills

Biddeford

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