Mainers are familiar with the current voting system, plurality voting, but not many are familiar with the ranked choice voting method. I like the idea of ranked choice voting, as it guarantees that the winner will carry a majority of votes (50 percent +1.) The plurality voting system is great when there are only two candidates running, but when three or more candidates are on the ballot, the winner often fails to win a majority of the people’s choice. This means that one person may be elected even if he or she wins only 34 percent of the votes cast. To me this is absurd. Our representatives should represent the majority of voters, not a third of them.
With ranked choice voting, we get to rank our candidates by first and second choice on the ballot. For example, let’s say three people are running for the same office. When none of them wins a majority of votes, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. But here is the part I really like. The second choice a voter selected on his or her ballot is now assigned to the two remaining candidates. The winner is selected with first and second choice ballots. This method allows voters to support their favorite candidate as first choice without worrying that they are throwing their vote away or worse, splitting their vote with like-minded voters and unintentionally helping to elect the candidate they do not like.
Ranked choice voting has helped to eliminate negative campaigns. We are less likely to nominate someone with our second choice if he or she has been negatively attacking our first choice candidate.
Portland, Maine, in 2011 elected its mayor by the ranked choice method. It is an easy method, as easy as one, two, three.
Ranked choice voting is the result of a team of civic leaders and legal scholars brought together by the League of Women Voters of Maine in 2008. The League was troubled with the current voting system. It asked for a better voting method. Ranked choice voting was the solution. I agree.