Edgar Allen Beem occasionally supports a position with which I agree, most recently that the winner of a multi-candidate election should be chosen from the top three vote-getters in a run-off election when no one gets over half the vote. His primary reason for this position is that he doesn’t like Gov. LePage or his policies, and he expects this method to produce a majority in the run-off.
This is an important issue, by not for Mr. Beem’s reasons.
The issue is broader than that. Elected officials will be more effective when results reflect the views of a majority (over 50 percent) of the voting population, i.e. a run-off between the top two. But given enough candidates, the top two might only have, say, 25 percent of the vote between them, and even if one wins 60 percent of the run-off vote, that candidate would still enjoy only 15 percent of the overall vote. This is hardly conducive to effectiveness.
The problem might be addressed by focusing on the candidates’ views rather than on the candidates themselves. For example, the other candidates’ votes might be apportioned among the run-off candidates based on congruence of their platforms with those of the finalists. After all, most people aren’t particularly interested in a candidate per se, but rather in their political philosophies.
So, Beem was correct, but should have considered the issue in broader terms. But, hey, it’s not the first time someone has been right for the wrong reasons.
Paul S. Bachorik