Letter: "No more 'spoiler' campaigns"

Lewiston Sun Journal

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The current, outdated, winner-take-all electoral system is designed around two-candidate races. But the fact is, here in Maine, there are often third-party and independent candidates on the ballot as well. A voting system is needed that reflects this reality.

Ranked-choice voting, which will be on the ballot in 2016, would allow voters to indicate their preferences by numbering their choices from first to last on their ballots, rather than simply putting a check next to the name of one candidate only. The votes can then be tallied according to an instant run-off system that actually takes the full range of voters’ preferences into account.

There are three advantages to this system.

First, it yields results that more accurately reflect the will of the people. Unfortunately, under the current system, it is very common for the winner in a three-way race to receive less than 50 percent of the vote, as has happened in nine of Maine’s last 11 gubernatorial races.

Second, it does away with the “spoiler” dilemma. When there are more than two candidates for the same office on a ballot, voters wouldn't find themselves in a position of having to choose between “voting their consciences” or “voting strategically.”

Finally, this system could raise the level of discourse in political campaigns. Under ranked-choice voting, candidates would be more wary of alienating their opponent’s supporters, because they would also be courting those voters for their second-place votes.

For those reasons, I support the campaign for ranked-choice voting.

Greg Kimber, Temple

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