Bangor Daily News
Next November, Maine has the chance to lead the nation again. Ranked-choice voting will be up for a referendum vote. It is a 19th century invention that allows voters to include backup choices on their ballots — in other words, rank their choices 1, 2, 3. Adopting this simple option is the best way to achieve majority rule, eliminate vote splitting and give small parties and independents a fighting chance.
In Maine and the U.S. at large we face an unprecedented amount of political gridlock. It wastes our tax dollars and prevents legislatures from passing common sense legislation. At the root of the problem is an electoral system that often panders to extremists, promotes negative campaigning and renders agreement with an opponent a sign of weakness.
In contrast, ranked-choice voting promotes the compromise necessary for an efficient government. Because candidates may need first- and second-choice rankings to be successful, civility, not personal attacks, will win elections. Candidates once again will discuss issues of consequence and emphasize their similarities as well as their differences. Those candidates who garner broad respect, not just from their base but from all voters, will be most successful, limiting the often unintended influence of extremists.
It is time we returned respectability, efficiency and civility to politics, and that the government started working for us again. By adopting ranked-choice voting next year, we can reclaim our citizen democracy. To learn more, please visit rcvmaine.com.
Maggie Clark, Montville