Editorial: "Ranked Choice Voting Would Improve Maine Elections"

Portland Press Herald

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I invested hundreds of hours as a field organizer in the 2014 gubernatorial race because I was idealistic and I believed in the independent candidate.

This was my first campaign, and from what I saw in the field, I swore it would probably be my last.

Despite believing wholeheartedly in the candidate, his vision and the policies he advocated for, I was frustrated.

What I disliked so much was the circus that surrounded the campaign and the vortex of distrust created by negative rhetoric in the media (cough, bloggers) and party politics.

I had the privilege of speaking with voters from both sides of the aisle each day, on the streets, in neighborhoods, at fairs, you name it. When the conversation about the candidates came up, the predominant response was a fear of splitting the vote – in favor of Mike Michaud or Paul LePage.

While I took these conversations in stride, I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to be confronted by this theme time and time again. The marketing campaign from both the left and the right had reached many people, and I had a difficult time changing that.

As I reflected on the November 2014 outcome, I realized that with a single exception we have endured four decades of gubernatorial elections with minority winners. So when I think about the future of Maine politics and its integrity for generations to come, electoral reform is a paramount objective.

As a nonpartisan fix, I am confident that ranked-choice voting would reduce the media circus around fear campaigns and allow voters to focus their attention on the policies and true visions of a leader.

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