Our voting system ensures one candidate will have majority voter support, but only if there are two candidates. With more candidates, very common in Maine, one often wins with less than 50 percent, as have governors in nine of the last 11 elections, some with less than 40 percent.
Ranked-choice voting ensures winning candidates receive at least 50 percent plus one vote. Voters select their first, second and third choices. If no one receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The voters’ second-choice candidate on those ballots then gets that vote, and one candidate will have majority support.
Ranked-choice voting allows people to vote for candidates whose ideas they support, even if that is a third-party candidate. With ranked-choice voting, people can vote for their preferred candidate knowing their second-choice vote still applies.
Election results then will show what ideas Maine voters support, and politicians will pay attention. Campaigns will be about policy concerns and solving issues and not about negative campaigning or who has the most money.
Portland’s mayor was elected using ranked-choice voting. Voters experienced less negative campaigning, learned more about the candidates and were able to vote for their preferred candidate. Ninety-four percent of voters found the ballots were easy to use, turnout was 50 percent higher than expected and the winner had 56 percent of the final votes.
The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, Brunswick Times Record, Maine Democrats, Green and Libertarian parties and many Maine Republicans support this reform, as do President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, a Republican.
For more information, go to fairvotemaine.org.
Tom Waddell, chairman