I worked with Gordon Weil for many years when we were consultants in the electric power industry and had great respect for him. I’m not sure what has happened.
His Dec. 13 column opposing ranked-choice voting indicates he is so wedded to the existing political infrastructure that he can’t conceive that there is a better way. Maybe he likes the nastiness of what passes for political discourse in Maine and across the U.S.
Just because ranked-choice voting is not yet widely used does not mean it’s not a better system. I’m a firm supporter of evolution in all things, including elections.
His column twists words to imply that ranked-choice voting does not allow the majority to select the winner. Of course, the reverse is true, and ranked-choice voting will ensure that the majority elects our leaders. This is the reverse of the current system where governors of all persuasions have been elected with less, sometimes significantly less, than 50 percent of the vote.
Weil suggests three options, but his first – let the plurality continue to decide – is the opposite of his earlier support for majority rule. His second option – that we could have a runoff – is expensive, cumbersome and simply extends the political craziness season. Weil admits that ranked-choice voting is the third option, but again twists words to make it sound like votes for lower-ranked candidates are distributed by some mysterious mechanism.
It’s not mysterious. The votes are distributed to the subsequent choices of the voters who voted for the lower-ranked candidates. The voters control the distribution in a transparent manner. Apparently Weil doesn’t trust the Maine voters to be able to rank their choices.
I could comment further on Weil’s twisted wording, but I’m close to the Portland Press Herald’s 300-word limit. Weil’s thinking needs to evolve.