Letter: "Ranked Choice Voting makes sense for Maine"

Rockland Free Press

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On October 19, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting submitted over 70,000 signatures to secure access on the November 2016 statewide ballot. Their proposal to use ranked choice voting for federal and state primary and general elections is a common-sense update to our voting system that has been embraced by Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens and Libertarians across the state.

Ranked choice voting makes sense for Maine. In a state where multi-candidate races are the norm, this system gives voters the freedom to use their ballots to rank the candidates they like in order of preference, while the counting process works like an “instant runoff” to ensure that a majority of voters pick the candidate who can best represent them. In an election climate where many voters are concerned about splitting the vote, this is a great opportunity to have our voices heard at every step of the process.

Furthermore, we believe in and celebrate the Mainers who are committed to public service and inspired to run for office in order to best represent their communities. We should encourage an election system, like ranked choice voting, that supports these citizens and facilitates a greater marketplace of ideas. In the current system, when we get outside of a traditional Democrat versus Republican race and include Independents, Greens and Libertarians in the mix, these candidates are often reduced to the margins as “spoilers” — instead of being viewed as the civic-minded, principled candidates who are offering an alternative vision for leadership. When this kind of conversation and finger-pointing persists, we degrade the debate, the spirit of public service and the health of our election system as a whole.

Ranked choice voting would restore a sense of integrity to participation in the political process. Voters would have the power to support their favorite candidates, without the fear of inadvertently helping to elect their least favorite candidates. And candidates would be judged based on more substantial criteria, like leadership experience and vision for public policy. As a result, we would see a far more engaging, interesting and meaningful conversation between voters and candidates about the future for our great state.

Senator Dave Miramant

Representative Pinny Beebe-Center

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