Proponents of ranked-choice voting have consistently justified its use by claiming it produces a majority winner in elections and thus it guarantees greater support for the winner. Recently a proponent of RCV stated in a letter to the editor, “Ranked-choice voting is a system of voting that always elects a candidate with more than 50% of the votes cast.” This is the Big Lie.

In the 2018 2nd Congressional District election, the declared winner did not get a majority of the votes cast. In that election, 289,332 Mainers voted, so a majority would have been 144,667 votes. The declared winner actually received only 142,440 votes, thus not a majority of the total votes cast.

This result is possible because, under RCV if any voters entitled to second vote choose not to support a different candidate and so do not vote again, they are disenfranchised and their participation in the election is not reflected in the final vote total. In 2018, 7,961 voters chose not to support a second candidate. In my opinion creating a fake majority winner by not including all voters in the final outcome could be considered a version of voter fraud.

If a majority winner is what Mainers want, a runoff election will guarantee such a winner. I know there would be additional cost involved, but it would be worth it to assure the integrity of our elections.

In the meantime I will vote to repeal RCV because an honest plurality is better than a contrived majority.

Russell J. Richards


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