While the voting rights of Americans of color and the poor have been eroded steadily, with fear mongering over voters fraud, (which is almost non-existent,) we must remember that voting is a hard won right of citizenship. Women died in the struggle for their rights. Sadly Americans do not turn out at rates that even come close to emerging democracies in other lands. It is shameful. This is noted in mid-term elections, and straw polls most glaringly. Part of this is due to a feeling that our votes don't count. Because of the party system, this is in fact often the case, if you remember "spoilers" like Ralph Nader, who split one party, allowing the other party to take the winnings.
While other good people are attempting to repair the voting rights, it is also time to consider a not so new approach to voting that can save money by eliminating runoff elections, and give all votes equal status. This is the mission of FairVoteMaine.orgwhich is promoting a system devised right here in New England in 1871, called RCV or ranked choice voting. It is a simple concept, and you vote for your preferred candidate as #1, and then choose second and third choices should your candidate not gain a majority of votes. This way, the votes are all cast on the first ballot, and the data is collected as to who the voters want.
This levels the field for all candidates, and will help voters turn out in higher numbers when we realize that our vote truly matters rather than being an outlier splitting a ticket's chances.
It will also reduce negative campaigning, since someone running a negative campaign will less likely be chosen as a second or third place candidate by voters, who see negativity as a rightly bad thing.
Join me in voting for RCV when it comes on the general ballot in 2016. Sign the petition to support it when you are asked to, and visit the website FairVote Maine for more information.
Sometimes everything old is new again.
Robert Wallace Finlay