Letter: Support ranked-choice voting

Bangor Daily News

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I’ve done my due diligence. I’ve read about the Condorcet cycle, proportional representation, range voting and single transferrable voting. I’ve reviewed approval voting and the Borda count. I’m exhausted. So I took another look at ranked-choice voting — Question 5 on the November ballot.

The plurality voting system we use now frequently produces results in which the winner receives less than a majority of the vote. It causes vote splitting, and that is its central flaw. That’s when you and I think that two candidates are essentially alike and the third is way out there. So, I vote for one and you vote for the other and the third guy wins. We both caused that, and neither of us wanted him. Too bad for us.

How about a runoff system? Well, it’s expensive, suffers from low voter turnout, and can disenfranchise overseas military voters.

Here’s a better idea: The voters use their ballot to rank candidates in order of preference. If there are three candidates running and no one gets a majority of first choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who supported the eliminated candidate now have their second choice votes applied accordingly to one of the two remaining candidates. This produces the same effect as a runoff election, without having to go back to the polls.

People say that we would be first in the nation to do that. Well, “as Maine goes, so goes the nation.” I’m voting yes on ranked-choice voting.

Don Fellows


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