Letter: Improve primaries with ranked-choice voting

Bangor Daily News

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In 2018, we will have a gubernatorial election without an incumbent — the first time since 2010.

For folks who remember that cycle, the absence of an incumbent meant that competitive candidates on both sides the aisle flocked to the starting line. In the Republican primary, there were seven candidates, and Paul LePage emerged with roughly 37 percent of his party’s support. Similarly, in the Democratic primary there were five candidates and Libby Mitchell emerged with just 34 percent of her party’s support. Neither nominee came close to receiving a majority of their party’s support.

With the anticipation that 2018 could look very similar to 2010, think about the positive impact that ranked-choice voting would have on party primaries. In the party primaries, ranked-choice voting would 1) ensure that a majority of voters are getting behind the candidate that the party sends to the general election; 2) be structured less like a coronation process for the candidate with the most resources and more like a substantive, issues-based discussion around the direction the party wants to go; and 3) eliminate the need for strategic voting, enabling voters to support their favorite candidates without the fear of inadvertently splitting the vote and helping to elect their least favorite candidate.

As voters prepare to weigh in on this issue at the polls in November, I urge them to consider the benefits of this system in all elections.

Amelia Melanson

Cape Elizabeth

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