Why We Need Election Reform in Maine

By Ian Ziller

There are many election reforms needed, but one that I shall discuss and that we should be considering is a change in our election process called instant-runoff voting.
Instant-runoff voting, or ranked choice voting, allows the voter to rank the candidates in order of preference, eliminating the candidate who receives the lowest amount of votes.
For example, if three candidates are running and you like A, somewhat like B, and dislike C, you could rank them A1, B2, C3. If candidate A got the lowest votes, your vote for them would shift to B and this would happen until a candidate got 50% or more of the vote. This is the only way to ensure that our elected officials get the majority of the vote.
One reason why this could be something to consider is with our Governor’s election out of the way and the reelection of Paul Lepage with 48% of the vote, which is not the first time a candidate was elected governor without a majority. For example, Angus King’s reelection in 1998 was the last time a candidate for governor was elected with a majority of the vote. But this was a reelection where it is more common for a candidate to do well.
The last time a governor was elected to a first term with a majority of the vote was in 1966, when Kenneth M. Curtis, a Democrat, defeated Republican John H. Reed with 53% of the vote.
Maine is an example of a state with a high independent spirit and a history of independents and third party candidates doing well, so it makes sense to have ranked choice voting in the state. Without it, it leaves the state vulnerable to continue to elect people who do not have the majority support of the people of Maine.

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