Carlton Pratt asks in his letter of June 20, “What’s wrong with our age-old voting system that has served us well for all these years? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I would urge Pratt to examine the history of voting in Maine and the numerous changes that Maine people have had to make over the years before he asks such an inaccurate and uninformed question. The people of Maine have felt the need to make many changes to our voting system, with constitutional amendments passed in 1880, 1891, 1921, 1935, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1971 and 1974.

One of the most significant changes came in 1891 when Maine enacted the “Australian” or “secret” ballot, which provided that printed ballots be marked and cast in a manner that protected the privacy of the voter’s choices. Prior to 1891, voting in Maine was conducted in a manner that allowed others to know how a person voted, often by a show of hands in public. And in 1893, the law was amended to arrange candidates in a column under the name of their political party.

Ranked-choice voting is another electoral reform first adopted in Australia, where it has been in use since 1918 for federal, state and local elections. This system is also used in local elections in Northern Ireland and Scotland. This system which Maine voters legislated last November assures that the winner has a majority of the votes cast.

Louis T. Sigel


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.