Last November’s passage of the initiative for Ranked Choice Voting — or “RCV” for short — demonstrated that a majority of voters believe this change to our election system is a good thing. After digging into RCV implementation around the county I’m one of those believers. RCV is already working in 11 cities around the country. New York City requires it in all primary races and couples it with an “instant runoff” mechanism to increase competitiveness, boost voter turnout, and eliminate the need to hold runoff elections in the primaries. Five states allow military and overseas residents to use ranked choice voting. 

In “winner-take-all” contests — especially three-way races such as nine of the last 11 gubernatorial races in Maine — I felt as though I had to vote against the person I opposed the most, rather than for the person I liked the best. RCV will free me from having to pick “the lesser of two evils.” That alone makes it worthwhile. Analysts looking at politics in cities using RCV report races are less negative, talking to voters is more important than wooing “Big Money” contributors (since a smart candidate can win by being everybody’s second choice, no matter who their first choices are), and voter turnout is higher than before switching to RCV. 

I want ranked choice voting implemented in Maine because it encourages more people to vote, reduces negative campaigning, eliminates runoff elections, promotes the will of the majority, and will re-energize public debate. 

Andy Stevenson, Belfast