Letter: "Ranked Choice Voting"

Rockland Free Press

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Reading the front-page articles in last week’s Free Press (November 12, 2015) I couldn’t help wishing that we’d had a ranked-choice voting system in place years ago. Maine is in sore need of a revision of our election systems. Between the divisions between our governor and the Legislature, and the recent “F” received by Maine from the Center for Public Integrity, it seems obvious that we need some reforms.

I worked at the polls recently gathering signatures to put a Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) system onto the ballot in Maine. Basically, it is a system that provides an instant runoff if no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote for any office. In our state with so many independent and non-party candidates, it would seem to be ideal to ensure the maximum chance for representatives who can speak for most of us. For example, I was shocked to learn that the last time we had a “majority governor” was in 1998, when Angus King got over 50 percent of the votes for his second term. Our current system has basically ensured “minority rule” for too long. RCV also has the effect of discouraging negative campaigns, because the ballot procedure allows for votes for least well as most favorite candidates. The website rcv.com has more details.

Ranked-choice voting is already in place in city elections in many states, including Portland, Maine, in 2011. Many in the military are already using a ranked-choice system in their absentee ballots because of the length of time it can take them to have their votes counted.

Many going through the polls agreed with me, and have already signed petitions to put this on the ballot next year. Let’s lead the nation again to more democracy in our election systems!

Karen Gleeson, Northport 

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