Letter: A Better Way to Vote

Bangor Daily News

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Christopher Burns paints an unnecessarily negative picture of ranked-choice voting in a July 20 BDN article. It is actually very easy to use (Portland has already done so in mayoral elections), and with a statewide effort to educate people, there should be very few problems.

One way of thinking about ranked-choice voting is that you’re voting for candidates you can live with. You can vote for one — just as you do now — or more or all candidates, ranked in your order of preference. My favorite aspect of ranked-choice voting is that it allows you to vote for the person you really, really like — even if she or he is unlikely to win — without fearing it will help elect someone you really dislike. So if you love, say, Bob, and like Alice pretty well and could even live with Ted or Carol, you could rank them as 1, 2, 3 and 4. But you wouldn’t rank the rest of the candidates at all if you don’t like them at all.

And though ranked-choice voting doesn’t guarantee that the winner will have a majority of all votes, it still is a much better approximation of what voters want than everyone having just one vote. We would at least end up with the candidate that the highest number of people find acceptable — all without the expense of staging a runoff election.

To my mind, it is also a plus that ranked-choice voting encourages more information gathering on the candidates, as an informed voter surely makes better selections. You might even end up more engaged in the community as a result.

Nancy O’Hagan


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