Letter: "For improved democracy, try ranked-choice voting"

Portland Press Herald

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I recently moved here from another state, and while I have been pleasantly surprised with a lot about Maine, I have been most surprised that Maine is on its way to improving the democratic process through ranked-choice voting.

Ranked-choice voting is simple and nonpartisan. Instead of voting for one candidate, Mainers rank the candidates on the ballot. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the candidate with the least is eliminated, and their votes are reassigned based on those voters’ rankings. This continues until one candidate has the support of the majority of voters.

At its face, ranked-choice voting sounds like a wonderful idea: Elect candidates who the majority of us want in office. The benefits go far beyond that, though. Ranked-choice voting rids our election system of many of the imperfections that we all accept as status quo.

We will no longer have to vote for the “least worst” candidate. Vote for the person who you truly support the most. That candidate may actually win – as we’re no longer afraid of throwing away our vote – but if not, your vote will automatically go to your next choice.

Negative campaigning will plummet. Winning candidates will need the ranked votes of their opponents’ supporters, and voters are less likely to rank a candidate who is negative toward their preferred candidate. This will also get a lot of money out of our elections. Attack ads are expensive.

Most importantly, with ranked-choice voting we’ll have better candidates and better representatives. With ranked-choice voting, anyone – your neighbor, your child’s teacher, even you – can win any election.

Ranked-choice voting evens the playing field, and with an even playing field, everyone in Maine wins. For more information, visit www.fairvotemaine.org!

Ken Holmes

Portland

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