Letter: Better Voting System

Bangor Daily News

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I am writing to support ranked-choice voting, which can make Maine elections more competitive, informative, and civil, and more likely to elect candidates who represent a majority of voters.

My support stems from Portland’s mayoral races, which were civil and informative. Furthermore, my neighbors were accepting of the results, regardless of how they voted. The ballot was simple, even with 15 candidates.

Unfortunately, nine of the 11 Maine gubernatorial elections since 1974 have resulted in winners elected by less than 50 percent of voters and pursuit of policies lacking general support from the electorate. The current system discourages third-party candidates and “spoiler effects” discourage voters from supporting them.

Dissatisfaction with the major parties, too much money in politics, and negative campaigning suggest a need for more diverse and civil candidates. With ranked-choice voting, voters can express their support of multiple candidates in order of preference. If you vote for a candidate who doesn’t get many votes and is eliminated in the first round of counting, your second choice gets your vote in the next round — and so forth until the tabulators arrive at a round where one candidate gets 50 percent of the vote.

Ranked-choice voting will not solve all election problems, but it moves us in the right direction. I encourage Maine voters to learn more about ranked-choice voting so they can cast an informed vote on Question 5 in November.

Valerie Kelly

Peaks Island

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