On March 20, the Legislature’s Committee for Veterans and Legal Affairs held a hearing in Augusta on L.D. 1083, a bill to use ranked-choice voting to tabulate presidential primary and general election voting results. This bill shows Maine is leading in the process for making presidential elections more democratic; please note this is “democratic” with a small “d” and does not refer to the Democratic Party.

During the hearing, proponents of L.D. 1083 described how well ranked-choice voting worked to decide majority winners in the 2018 election. Winning by a majority of the vote is the cornerstone of a more democratic election process. Based on anticipation that voter participation will increase from a low of less than 50 percent prior to its introduction, ranked-choice voting will help make representative government actually work for the people.

Using ranked-choice voting in elections is expected to end the limited choice of just two viable candidates offered by the two major political parties.

Proponents of L.D. 1083 testifying at the podium about the merits of the bill seemed to fully understand how ranked-choice voting worked. And despite the fact that voters found the process quite simple, four Republican members of the committee, including Waterville’s senator, appeared to have little understanding about the process.

Not surprisingly Republican holdouts opposed to ranked-choice voting are now sponsoring a bill that would allow candidates for governor and the Legislature to win elections with as little as 38 percent of the vote. How fair is that to the 62% majority of the voters? Old ways die hard.


Jim Chiddix


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