We are going to be able to vote in Maine in a referendum next November, on whether to have ranked-choice voting (for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor, State House and State Senate) in future elections. Ranked-choice voting (also called instant run-off voting) allows the candidate that has the most support from the most people voting to win, by having voters rank all candidates in order of preference on their ballots.
If no candidate achieves a true majority (more than 50 percent), the lowest-ranking candidates are eliminated in each “instant runoff” round, their ranked votes redistributed, until one candidate achieves a true majority. This method of voting can serve to protect us from elections where two similar candidates split supporter votes, resulting in the election of a less-popular third candidate.
It should give us more representative political leaders, help candidates without big money, and result in higher voting turnout, more informative and less vituperative campaigning. Think about the counting process in terms of an instant runoff: if three candidates run for office and your first choice is eliminated with the least amount of support, who do you prefer between the two remaining candidates?
That's how a second choice factors into a ranked-choice election. More than 70,000 registered Maine voters already signed to put this measure on the ballot, which shows considerable support. We now have almost a year to figure out what we want. See rcvmaine.com/ for more information.