Letter: "Ranked Choice Voting"

Bangor Daily News

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The movement for ranked-choice voting has built an impressive following among Republicans, Democrats and independents across this state. If we think about the end goals for this reform — majority rule, a reduction of negative campaigning, and the restoration of meaningful choices for voters — we see they aren’t partisan aspirations. They are values shared by voters and leaders across party lines. That’s why this movement has generated so much momentum.

While folks have wondered how voters might respond to a change in the way we vote, I think Mainers are eager to have the opportunity to express opinions on a full slate of candidates, especially when three or more candidates run for an office. Furthermore, I am confident that voters will find this system easy to understand in use. Ranking candidates in order of preference is not difficult.

In 2011, Portland, successfully switched to a ranked-choice system to elect the city’s mayor. In that election, 94 percent of surveyed voters noted the voting instructions and ballot design were “easy to understand.” Similar polling in other municipalities, like Minneapolis, confirmed voters had no trouble adapting and understanding how to use a ranked-choice ballot.

In November 2016, we will have an opportunity to implement this system for federal and state primary and general elections. If we are successful, Maine could lead the national movement for an accessible system that encourages more positive, issues-based campaigning.

Margaret Guthrie


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