Letter: Run-off is preferable to ranked choice voting

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Ranked choice voting is an interesting concept that, on balance, may have a fatal flaw: its basic premise assumes all voters have fully vetted each candidate and then placed them into priority; I’m not sure that will pass the straight-face test.

In addition, RCV allows flooding the candidate list with those of similar political leanings in order to focus disparagement on a singular popular candidate, rather than forcing all eligible candidates to concentrate on each other; thus, with multitudes of candidates, political issues and positions, neither the candidate nor the voter has a chance to make a viable selection. Vote selection becomes confusing and indiscriminate.

If we must change, I would rather have a run-off requiring a successful candidate receive over 50 percent of the votes cast. At least then the voters would understand the candidate goes into office, truly, with majority backing.

Stephen Gorden

  • John E. Palmer

    That Maine would use ranked choice in both the primary and the general election will ensure that the number of candidates to rank is manageable. Mr. Gorden’s theory that a flood of candidates will run makes no sense, and has not happened in other locations that use ranked choice. Separately, manual runoffs have dramatically lower turnout, are costly, and disenfranchise absentee voters.

    Mr. Gordon, with his “if we must change” qualifier, telegraphs that he is a status quo supporter. Really? Is the status quo working for enough Mainers?

    It’s time to move beyond a system that saddles us with just two choices.

  • Chew H Bird

    If we do approve ranked choice voting based upon the mythical 50% approval, we also need to make sure that a 50% approval is actually a majority of the population, otherwise it is simply a misrepresentation of the word “majority”.

  • wakeup_call

    Rank choice voting is nothing more than a veiled attempt at ballot stacking of candidates of similar political beliefs hiding behind third fourth or fifth party labels.
    As most people are aware by now Democrats and Independents are one and the same in terms of political beliefs and now the libertarians are slowly being co-opted by the Democrat party.
    So under the ranked choice voting scheme, in a four way race of of R,D,I,L you may believe you have many different choices however your really only have two.
    The first would be the Republican candidate and the second would be the Democrat candidates disguised and distributed behind different political packaging.
    This is a political strategy to ensure a better chance of placing Democrat candidates in power for now and the foreseeable future.

  • Heather Sirocki

    Gov. Jerry Brown, former Mayor of Oakland, has first hand experience with ranked- choice voting. Gov. Brown vetoed RCV in California last week- stating it is “overly complicated and confusing” and “deprives voters of genuinely informed choice.” If the goal is to be “liked the most” and receive as any 2nd place votes as possible, politicians may avoid their positions on tough issues making it more difficult for voters to compare candidates. https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/SB_1288_Veto_Message.pdf