To the Editor:
This Monday, the Ranked Choice Voting Committee submitted over 70,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. This marks the conclusion of the first step in achieving an important reform that will strengthen our democratic process and will make Maine, which next November could become the first state to adpot ranked choice voting, once again a bellwether for the nation: “As Maine goes…”.
For those who have not yet had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of ranked choice voting, the process is not complicated. In an election with three (or more) candidates, voters are able to rank two or more of their top choices in order of preference. When the ballots are counted, if no candidate has received more than 50 percent of the first choice votes, the candidate who has received the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. The second choice votes on ballots cast for that candidate are then distributed to the remaining candidates, and the votes are recounted.
The outcome is the same as if a runoff election had been held, but it saves the expense of holding another election and the inconvenience to voters of having to come out to the polls for a second time. Ranked-choice voting will allow more independents to field viable candidacies while eliminating the “spoiler effect” that third-places candidates have sometimes played in three-way races. It will also encourage more civility and less negative campaigning, as candidates will still need to vie for the second choice votes of their opponent’s supporters.
Interested citizens can learn more on the Ranked Choice Voting Committee's website, rcvmaine.com. I encourage all readers of the Citizen to follow the latest developments closely