To the Editor:
Ranked Choice Voting is a method of voting in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, if there are more than two candidates. Your vote still only counts once and you still have the freedom to rank as many or as few candidates as you choose. The winner is chosen after successive rounds of tabulation by eliminating the least popular candidates after each round. To illustrate, if your first choice is eliminated after tallying the first round of votes, your support is transferred to your second choice and so on. This ensures that whoever is elected gets elected with a majority of support. Computer technology allows this to be done without the expense of separate, costly run-off election in which voter turnout would predictably suffer.
I support ranked choice voting because it is both a bipartisan effort to make our elections more democratic and it is a reform that gives voters more of a choice. By eliminating fears of spoilers and split votes, ranked choice voting levels the playing field for candidates who focus on the real concerns of voters, instead of short political quips.
Under a Ranked Choice Voting system in which candidates are competing not just for first choice rankings, but also second choice rankings, negative campaigning would be curbed because candidates would benefit from appealing to broader bases of the electorate and maintaining good relations with their opponents. As a result, candidates could focus on legitimate policy concerns instead of the personal attacks and mud-slinging that we are so accustomed to. Imagine the positive impact that this would have in all areas of our politics.
More than 400 volunteers, including Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and Greens joined together this past winter to collect more than 61,000 signatures to put this on the ballot for the November 2016 election.
If you are interested in getting involved with this nonpartisan electoral reform, sign up to volunteer here www.rcvmaine.com and like its Facebook page at Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.
Emily Ecker Woodstock