Oh boy! Another chance to emphasize Voltaire’s oft-cited remark: Common sense isn’t common. And add this twist: It’s not even sense.

Another opportunity to achieve repeal of ranked-choice voting. First approved by voters in 2016, it’s been unsuccessfully attacked plural times since. To date, only a minority of Mainers have sought sensibility from repealing the rascal.

Historically, from 1824 to 2000, 16 presidents — from John Q. Adams to George W. Bush — were elected on less than 50% percent of the vote. Abe Lincoln got 39.9%. The electoral vote gave us greatness. Don’t even think of ranked-choice voting replacing the Electoral College.

Historically, it’s one man/woman, one vote. Sensible. Simply put, ranked-choice voting was born when more folks than usual threw hats in the ring, reducing the plurality winner’s margin of victory. Suddenly, in politics, besting more opponents than usual became wrong. In the rest of society, only marathon winners break tape. In bowling, the most pins down win the cup.

Ranked-choice voting is expensive when a majority winner is sought in a plurality conclusion. Losers’ votes— calculated — determine the outcome. Even possible to add puzzle pieces from third place. Nonsense becomes reality.

In ranked-choice voting, the first count doesn’t count. And it’s possible a second count doesn’t either. Common sense isn’t common. Nor is it sense. Voltaire lives on.


John Benoit


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