December 7, 2015

A Maine Republican, Democrat and independent state senator give four reasons for ranked choice voting

Jerry Davis, Dick Woodbury & Cathy Breen

First, ranked-choice voting restores majority rule. Elected candidates will be more broadly representative of voters, and can serve with a credibility and mandate that reflects this broader expression of support.

Second, ranked-choice voting eliminates “spoiler” candidates. If a candidate can’t win, then they are eliminated. They don’t “spoil” the result by splitting votes with a like-minded opponent. It also means that voters can vote for their preferred candidate without worrying that they might help the candidate they like least.

Third, by avoiding spoiler candidates and strategic voting, ranked-choice voting shifts the messaging of campaigns, the focus of the media and the public evaluation of candidates back toward issues, vision, experience and capabilities, and away from polling and viability.

Fourth, ranked-choice voting encourages civil and respectful campaigns, as candidates
avoid alienating their opponents’ supporters. Rather than appealing to their most loyal supporters alone, a winning candidate needs to appeal more broadly. They need to seek out second-choice rankings from voters whose first choices may be somebody else.

PS: The current drive across the nation for ranked choice voting had its roots in the founding of Fair Vote (originally Center for Voting & Democracy) run by one of America's exceptional activist leaders, Rob Ritchie. The group was formed in your editor's  Washington living room over 20 years ago.

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