I was pleased to hear that the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting recently opened their campaign headquarters in Westbrook. I support this citizens’ initiative to replace our current voting system with a ranked choice voting system.
My enthusiasm for ranked choice voting comes from my belief that it will allow for a more democratic result in our elections. We would finally achieve the desired result of majority rule. Over the last 40 years, our gubernatorial elections in particular have often resulted in “minority winners” who command a plurality of support, but may not represent the views of the majority. With a ranked choice voting system, Maine voters would rank the candidates in order of preference. In the event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes, an instant run-off count would ensue. If your first choice has the least votes, he or she is eliminated and your second preference is counted as y! our vote instead. Rounds of tabulation would continue until one candidate has obtained a majority of support.
A switch to ranked choice voting would have a number of positive effects for our electoral system. There would no longer be a “spoiler effect” when third party candidates run for office. Without the “spoiler effect”, our electoral process could support a more diverse field of candidates and add incentive for more citizens to vote. Years ago, when I volunteered to make get-out-the-vote campaign calls, I remember speaking with people who did not identify with either of the two major political parties. They wanted more choice. Perhaps they also wanted leaders who could work as a bridge between the two sets of political beliefs. Ranked choice voting would enable voters to support these kinds of candidates. And who wouldn’t want a more democratic voting system?