Lewiston Sun Journal
For decades, there has been a problem with how leaders in Maine are being elected, withstanding three- and four-way races in a system designed to support traditional two-party elections. As a result, nine of the past 11 gubernatorial elections have produced non-majority winners.
It is not just the principle of majority rule that is at stake. Most Mainers are tired of negative advertising and hyper-partisanship. They know that kind of campaigning is toxic to politics.
Reform is needed. The very nature of how campaigns are run hangs in the balance.
After serious consideration, I believe that ranked choice voting is the most cost-effective solution to empower voters with real choice, ensure majority winners, end the question about spoilers, reduce negative advertising and increase civility between candidates.
Looking at one example, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, who won a ranked choice election in 2011, noticed the change in campaigning when he was going door to door. Because he had to ask for first and second choice rankings, he found it worthwhile talking with voters who had lawn signs supporting his opponents.
In November of 2016, Mainers will have an opportunity to implement ranked choice voting for federal and state elections. I will be collecting signatures for this ballot initiative at the Lewiston poll for the school budget referendum.
Larry Gilbert Sr., Lewiston