Importance of Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting Referendum

n essay posted on argues that second-most-important vote is right here in the State of Maine: Question 5 the popular citizen’s -initiative which would for the first time establish Ranked Choice Voting on a statewide basis. Jim

“The vote I have in mind will not decide who controls the US Senate, since neither of the state’s two senators is on the ballot this year. Instead, the issue at stake in Question 5 (a citizen-initiated referendum) is whether Maine will adopt a system called ranked-choice voting (RCV) in all its elections. If they approve the measure, Maine voters will have a unique opportunity to showcase the transformative potential of US democracy and to send a much-needed signal for reform at a crucial moment.

“In RCV, voters select not just one candidate, but a list of candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority of first-preference votes when tabulating the results, the least popular candidate is eliminated and the second-preference votes of his or her supporters are redistributed to the other candidates. The process continues until someone gets a majority.

“The ability to rank all the candidates running for office, rather than voting for only one, is intrinsically more democratic. But, because it forces candidates to try to appeal to a broader cross-section of the public, RCV also makes it much more likely that the winner will be open to moderation, compromise and building governing coalitions. LePage himself was first elected in 2010 in a bruising three-way contest with only 37 percent of the vote. Under RCV, he would have been forced to take a more moderate line — or else he would have been defeated in the “instant run-off” (another name for the system).

“If more US legislators were elected through RCV, this could help to reduce gridlock and get legislation moving again…”