I am writing in support of ranked-choice voting because it’s not a partisan issue to ensure that all votes count.
After the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial races, no electorate understands the pain of the “spoiler effect” more than Maine voters. And yet, problems associated with the “spoiler effect” aren’t unique to Maine politics. American voters have faced the dilemma between a strategic vote and a vote of conscience in numerous presidential elections as well — most recently, in 1992 and 1996 with Ross Perot, and in 2000 with Ralph Nader. In all of these elections, the winner won with less than 50 percent of the popular vote.
When faced with the choice between a vote of conscience for someone we are pretty sure will lose, and a strategic vote for someone we like less, the result is a lose-lose. When vote-splitting leads to the election of a candidate who is opposed by a majority of the voters, we in turn lose faith in the political process. It doesn’t have to be this way.
A ranked choice system eliminates the “spoiler effect.” It allows us to freely vote our conscience, knowing that if, and only if, our favorite candidate truly doesn’t have a majority of votes, then our “vote of conscience” will automatically convert into a “strategic vote” for our second-best candidate. By removing the fears of vote-splitting from the equation, this system would return power to the voters with meaningful choices, and steer election focus back towards a more civil and substantive discussion of the issues.
I urge voters to take the time and research the benefits of ranked choice voting for Maine’s federal and state elections. For more information, visit www.fairvotemaine.org/faq.