The Conway Daily Sun
To the editor:
Regardless of whom you’re supporting as November’s elections approach, if you believe our current election system is broken it behooves you to take a serious look at Question 5 on Maine’s statewide November ballot this year. Voting yes for this system will give us the opportunity to change the way we elect our leaders, so that we all have more voice and more choice in the political process.
The system is called ranked choice voting, and, if it passes in November, it would be used for Maine’s federal and state primary and general elections including races for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, governor and the state Legislature.
As a voter in this system, your job is to rank the candidates you like in a given election, in order of preference. The counting process works like an instant runoff. If no candidate has a majority of first choice support, the last place candidate is eliminated and supporters of this candidate have their second choice preferences activated and assigned among the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority of the vote.
Beginning in 2008, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Maine spent nearly three years researching alternative election systems that gave voters more power, encouraged more positive campaigning, and held winning candidates accountable to a majority vote. In 2011, the League reached the conclusion that ranked choice voting was not only the most democratic solution, but also the most cost-effective and administratively efficient option to meet each of these aspirations.
In retrospect, Maine has not elected a first-term governor with a majority vote since Kenneth Curtis won in 1966, 50 years ago. In nine of the last 11 races for governor, winning candidates were elected by fewer than half of voters. In five of those races, candidates were elected by fewer than 40 percent of voters.
If you believe that fairness and better governance are achieved when candidates, of any party, are elected by a majority of Maine voters, then join the movement for ranked choice voting and vote yes on Question 5 in November.