To the Editor:
In the 2014 gubernatorial election, I went with my gut and supported the independent candidate. Despite this, watching the race unfold over the year was a vexing experience.
Mainers had their ideas on whom they would want to place their vote behind, but were concerned with “splitting” the overall vote. In fact, the majority of those I spoke with in passing cast a “strategic vote” so that their least favorite candidate wouldn’t be elected. The independent candidate, in their view, was the quixotic choice.
But Maine has a strong tradition of being an independent trailblazer for the rest of the nation. We have had two independent governors, an independent senator, and we regularly feature strong non-party candidates in all levels of our elections. “Dirigo” is our state’s motto!
The scenario that one would vote for “second best” just to elect the individual who wasn’t their last choice is beyond me, yet this is a scenario we’ve encountered many times in our state. Something is wrong with our electoral system when we have to vote against instead of for someone.
With ranked choice voting, Mainers can vote for who they want, at all levels of government, and do away with the fear-baiting and voter intimidation we all too often see in political campaigns. We have never been afraid to buck conventional methods. In fact, we could set a model for the rest of the country. Isn’t it time to bring back the saying: “As Maine goes, so goes the nation?”