Good news: This is one of those rare occasions when saving the day is effortless. Dark money is funding a petition drive aimed at eliminating ranked-choice voting for presidential elections this fall and beyond, even though Mainers have said twice that we want this fair, easy and sensible form of voting. The key thing for us to do now is just decline to sign the petition.

If the out-of-state signature-collecting firm at work on this farrago gets 63,067 names by June 15, the state will halt implementation of the ranked-choice voting law already on the books for the presidential election (so no ranked-choice voting for president this fall), and we’ll have to vote yet a third time to keep it for future presidential elections.

Does the petition even represent a real grassroots dislike of ranking our preferences in multi-candidate races? No. The champion of the repeal campaign, Bruce Poliquin, is a candidate the majority of voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District already tossed out of office with ranked-choice voting. His allies, wealthy out-of-state donors, tend to support the beneficiaries of vote-splitting: divisive candidates who appeal only to narrow factions. But their goal isn’t even to overturn ranked-choice voting at the ballot box, since they know they’ll lose there; it’s to use the sacred Maine people’s veto process as a back door to block implementation of voter-approved ranked-choice voting for the 2020 presidential election.

Ranked-choice voting ensures that a candidate opposed by the majority cannot win. With ranked-choice voting — in effect, a built-in instant runoff — we get to vote for the candidates we like most without fear of accidentally electing the one we like least.

Mainers wanted ranked-choice voting, we voted for it twice, we’ve already employed it — let’s make sure we keep it for November and thereafter. For now, the right action is easy: a simple “No, thank you, I won’t sign that petition — I’m pro-democracy” and a smile.

Gillian Burnes

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