Letter: "Ranked-choice voting is key to bipartisan reform"

Portland Press Herald

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Despite what one may have heard, we’d be doing ourselves a disservice to characterize electoral reform as a sour-grapes, kneejerk reaction to the outcome of the latest gubernatorial race.

With a unique opportunity to build consensus on such a common-sense fix, we should consider electoral reform as a reform embraced by Republicans, Democrats, independents and Greens alike.

The problems associated with plurality voting precede Gov. Paul LePage’s tenure in office. In fact, plurality voting has been an inefficient mechanism for electing our leaders for over 40 years.

During that time Democrats, independents and Republicans have all been elected with a minority of support. Remember John Baldacci winning with 36 percent of the vote? Angus King winning with 35 percent of the vote? No wonder we can’t get anything done in Augusta!

Do we really want to prolong the negative campaigning, the gridlock and the hyperpartisanship that divide voters and political leaders in Augusta?

Now imagine ranked-choice voting, a system that ensures majority rule, eliminates vote-splitting and returns a level of issues-based civility to our political campaigning. Imagine the positive impact that this would have in all areas of our politics.

I urge Maine voters to consider the November 2016 citizens’ initiative to replace plurality voting with ranked-choice voting. Maine is ready for bipartisan electoral reform.

John Bernard
South Portland

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