Starting in 1948 I have voted in every election, including those since my 1970 arrival in Maine. (I may be “from away,” but my family created what became known as the Blue Jeans Band that marched in the 1974 Independence Day parade.)

I can recall every vote since the 1974 election when Jim Longley received 39.7 percent of the vote in a three-way race for governor.

Over the next 40 years, we saw multi-candidate races for governor become commonplace, with many of the winners falsely claiming “mandates” to roll out their public policy, without the majority of the people voting for their proposals.

Wouldn’t it be better to have an election process that fairly ensures a majority vote for the winner? One that ensures that the winner really has a mandate — in the sense of being the people’s’ choice — for leading the office to which they are elected? And a process that makes it possible for the voter to support the candidate of preference without being called a spoiler?

The election process that would provide those results is ranked-choice voting.

In November 2016, we will have a statewide vote to decide whether to implement ranked-choice voting for federal and state primary and general elections in Maine. I urge voters of all political stripes to rally behind the movement for this system.

Darwin L. Hatheway


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