I support the initiative to institute ranked-choice voting in Maine.
Maine, with its history of nine out of the past 11 gubernatorial races involving three or more candidates, in which the winning candidate received less than a majority of votes (i.e., 51 percent or greater), particularly needs such a system.
This situation has led to concern by voters about “throwing away their vote” or splitting their vote rather than voting for the candidate who they believe best matches their views and is best qualified.
One solution to the situation in which no candidate receives a plurality of votes is to hold a run-off election. Run-off elections do not prevent voters from casting their votes strategically to avoid splitting their votes. But they do involve additional expense for the state, can result in millions of dollars spent on negative advertising and can extend the campaign season well into December or beyond.
Ranked-choice voting does not have any of those disadvantages.
With ranked-choice, voters rank choices based on individual preference. The candidate who receives the fewest votes is eliminated and ballots for the remaining candidates are tallied again to determine the candidate with the greatest support.
Not only does ranked-choice voting reduce the possibility of candidates receiving less than a plurality of votes, but there is also evidence it increases voter turnout and creates more civil campaigning. That's because candidates are aware they need to appeal to a broader base of voters in order to receive second- and third-choice rankings.
Sandy Doctoroff, Auburn