Letter: "Ranked choice"

Mount Desert Islander

Click here to read the full letter

To the Editor:

When Maine voters head to the polls for each election, they do so because they know that elections have consequences and they know it is important that their voices are heard. After the votes are tallied, there is a shared understanding that the results should represent the will of the majority.

Yet Maine has a peculiar electorate. With a notable independent streak, it is hard to make generalizations about how we tend to vote and even harder to expect the current, winner-take-all plurality system to provide an accurate reflection of what voters are really thinking.

Over the last 40 years, especially in gubernatorial elections, three- and four-way races for public office have become the norm within a system that was principally designed to facilitate two-way races between the major parties.

Over the course of this period, the results of our elections have become less representative of the majority and the process has become less democratic, drowning out the voices of so many voters who are forced to choose between a vote of conscience and a vote of strategy. Something has got to give.

We need an electoral system that reflects the unique nature of politics in Maine. We need an electoral system that empowers voters with more meaningful choices. And we need an electoral system that ensures that the will of the majority is never defeated by the will of the minority.

There is already a growing contingent of over 500 Republicans, Democrats and Independents who are hard at work to implement the solution to these problems. They are proposing ranked-choice voting, and I support this movement.

The group already has collected more than 60,000 signatures to put this on the ballot in November of 2016, and they will be circulating more petitions at the upcoming election in Bar Harbor this coming June 2. I encourage you to do more research on ranked-choice voting. You can read more about how it works and why we need it in Maine here: www.rcvmaine.com/faq.

Barbara Fenderson

Bar Harbor

Donate Volunteer