Letter: "Ranked choice voting is good for both voters and candidates"

Press Herald

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I am writing in support of ranked-choice voting, a commonsense reform to our voting system that puts power back in the hands of people and makes politicians more accountable to voters. Mainers will have an opportunity to vote in favor of ranked-choice voting next November.

If the turmoil in Augusta has taught us anything, it is that we need to change the way we elect our leaders. In nine of the last 11 races for Maine’s governor, candidates were elected by less than half of the voters, in five of those races by less than 40 percent.

In a representative democracy, our leaders should represent and be accountable to the people, not to narrow political factions. There are many problems with our politics today. Some will take years, even decades, to solve. Ranked-choice voting is something we can do now to make our politics work better.

Ranked-choice voting restores majority rule and gives more power to voters. If your favorite candidate can’t win, your vote is instantly counted for your second choice, so you never feel your vote is wasted.

Campaigns should be about issues, not polling and viability. Ranked-choice voting encourages candidates to reach beyond their bases and build majority coalitions to get things done in Augusta. Because you are less likely to rank as your second choice a candidate who has issued personal attacks against your favorite candidate, ranked-choice voting also reduces incentives for negative campaigning.

Mainers of all political stripes are supporting this nonpartisan initiative by writing letters, hosting house parties, knocking on doors, stuffing envelopes, and talking to friends and family about ranked-choice voting and why it matters. I encourage readers to watch a short video about ranked-choice voting and learn more atwww.rcvmaine.com.

John Bernard

South Portland

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