Letter: "Maine Needs Ranked Choice Voting"

Foster's Daily Democrat

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Maine needs ranked choice voting

To the editor:

Earlier this month, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting reached an important milestone, submitting over 70,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to secure access on the November 2016 statewide ballot. Their proposal asks voters to update our voting system with the use of ranked choice ballots for federal and state primary and general elections.

Ranked choice ballots are specifically designed for multi-candidate races, allowing voters to rank the candidates they like, in order of preference, to ensure majority rule, eliminate vote-splitting and discourage negative campaigning.

Why do we need ranked choice voting? Over the last 40 years, the current system has upheld an inadequate expression of voter sentiment. In fact, 9 of our last 11 governors were elected with less than 50 percent of the vote. I support the use of ranked choice ballots because I believe an individual should have to win an election with at least 50 percent of the vote, and that it should not be possible to win an election with a narrow base of support.

By restoring the Maine tradition of majority rule, our election process will be more civil and issue-oriented when candidates know they will need to be ranked and that those rankings will have an impact on the outcome of the race.

In 2011, the city of Portland implemented ranked choice voting for their mayor’s election. Voters and candidates alike embraced the change. Candidates appreciated the encouragement to focus on direct voter engagement, while voters appreciated the power to ensure majority rule and the freedom to support their favorite candidates, without the fear of inadvertently helping to elect their least favorite candidates.

For more information on how ranked choice voting works, why we need it and how you can get involved in this movement, please visit www.rcvmaine.com.

Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio

House District 18, Sanford

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