Letter: "Ranked Choice Voting---A Sensible Alternative"

The Daily Bulldog - Will Bonsall, Industry

Over the last 40 years, multi-candidate races for public office have become the norm. As a result there have been many races where a candidate wins without majority support. In fact this has occurred in nine of the last 11 gubernatorial elections. And while the current electoral system is not without flaws, there are things that can be done to make it more reflective of the people’s wishes.

Over the last 40 years, multi-candidate races for public office have become the norm. As a result there have been many races where a candidate wins without majority support. In fact this has occurred in nine of the last 11 gubernatorial elections. And while the current electoral system is not without flaws, there are things that can be done to make it more reflective of the people’s wishes.

There is another system for such situations which gives more power and choice to the voter. It is called Ranked Choice, or Instant Run-off Voting, and it allows voters to express not only their first choice, but also their second and third preferences. In the event that their preferred candidate does not have enough support, their vote automatically transfers to their second choice, and thus their wishes are not completely frustrated.

It is said that ranked choice voting minimizes the influence of out-of-state special-interest money in the election process by reducing the all-or-nothing effect of first-past-the-post outcomes. It is also said to reduce the negative and personal attack strategies of a campaign in favor of serious ideas, since every candidate knows she/he may be relying on the second-choice votes of the loser’s supporters.

It makes good sense to me and, surprisingly, to many elected officials of all political stripes. They have seen the problems first-hand and recognize ranked choice voting as the best solution.

On Oct. 19, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting submitted over 70,000 signatures to the Secretary of State in order to secure access on the Nov. 2016 ballot. I urge fellow voters to take the time to learn more and consider supporting this reform when it appears on next year’s ballot. For more information, you can visit rcvmaine.com.

Will Bonsall
Industry

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