To the editor:
I am very excited that Maine citizens have the option to select ranked-choice voting for elections. When a ballot includes three or more candidates for a seat, ranked-choice voting allows each citizen to stipulate their first, second, and third choice for that seat – or as many choices as there are candidates.
To tabulate votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the second choice of each of the citizens whose first choice was eliminated is counted along with all the first-choice votes. This process is repeated until one candidate receives a majority (50 percent plus one) of the votes and is declared the winner.
Ranked-choice voting offers citizens the chance to vote their hopes for an office with confidence that if their first choice doesn’t garner enough votes to avoid elimination, then their second-choice candidate earns their vote and a chance to be elected. This method has been judged appropriate under the Maine Constitution by multiple state legal authorities.
It’s astounding to me that of the Maine governors elected since 1974, only two received a majority of the vote: 61.9 percent in 1978 and 58.9 percent in 1998. As little as 35.4 percent of votes (1994) has been sufficient to elect our governor. That means a majority of voters had not voted for the person sworn in as governor.
When more than two candidates qualify to run for an office, let’s make sure each voter’s preferences are documented and counted toward selection of the winner, with a majority of Mainers selecting the candidate.
Vote this November, and please vote for ranked-choice voting so your choices will count to select our officials along with the choices of a majority of Mainers.