Dirigo. Roughly translated, it means “I lead.” Surely, the motto extends to Maine’s political sphere, characterizing our storied independent streak. We have always challenged the status quo. We have always been on the cutting edge of good government. And once again, we have a golden opportunity to restore better elections and good government. Ranked choice voting is the solution.
Detractors have mischaracterized electoral reform as a reactionary wake from the gubernatorial election of 2014. They offer a deeply myopic analysis – arguing that Democrats and Independents, livid at the governor’s re-election, desire to game the system, forever favoring their Blaine House aspirations.
However, electoral reform should not be politicized in this manner. This initiative will not “rig the deck” as some detractors surmise. Nobody will be “gamed.” And your vote will still only count once.
With ranked choice voting, we have an opportunity to bring an end to the culture of partisan hacks, demonization of opponents and purely negative campaigning.
What this reform will do, is give rise to campaigns and politicians that can act civil, focus on real issues and lead from the middle of the political spectrum – rallying Republicans, Independents and Democrats together to do good public policy. Candidates for public office would be judged based on the content of their character and their capacity to lead with the best interests of the citizenry, not based on their ability to demonize opponents or accrue massive sums of special interest money that increase their “electability.”
For we citizens, the new method reflects our participation in democracy with elegant simplicity. One ranks candidates in order of voter preference. Let no one muddy the waters with speculation and anxiety; a more robust choice is a better reflection of the very real political condition of 21st century American democracy.
Timothy G. Smith