Maine will soon make history by using ranked-choice voting in a general statewide election. Ranked-choice voting will be used for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races. It is simply a runoff voting system for races with more than two candidates done through one efficient ballot. It is one person, one ranked-choice vote. Runoff voting systems provide more power to voters and winners who better reflect the will of the people.

With ranked-choice voting, if you so choose, you simply rank the candidates in order of preference. If someone gets a majority after the first count, it’s over. If not, the instant runoff goes into effect. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the ballots of those who selected that candidate as their first choice then go to their second choice. Everyone else’s ballots stay with their first choice. The ballots are then retabulated. This process continues until there is a majority winner.

Ranked-choice voting was used in last June’s primary elections with great success, especially for a first time using it statewide. By all accounts, primary election voters overwhelmingly found ranked-choice voting to be easy. It was cost effective, and there was certainly no “chaos.” It did not take “weeks” to get the results. And ranked-choice voting was again supported by Maine voters, this time with an even larger majority.

Runoff election systems are used in many places for many elections. In fact, the Maine Republican Party uses a runoff process similar to ranked-choice voting to elect its very own party leaders. The system is used in Portland to elect its mayor, and Lewiston uses a traditional runoff process to elect its mayor.

I would encourage voters to participate in ranking the federal-level candidates in the upcoming elections.

James Bilancia


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