Ballots for this year’s presidential and U.S. Senate elections in Maine provide another opportunity to use ranked-choice voting. If no candidate in these elections wins a majority of votes in the first count on election night, the rankings created by each voter will allow for an instant run-off counting process to determine which candidate truly has the most support and thus wins the election.

You can rank as few or as many candidates in each race as you wish. For example if you think there is only one good candidate then just fill in the bubble for that candidate in the first-place column and leave the other columns blank. If you believe two or more candidates are acceptable then fill in the additional bubbles for second and third columns, etc.

Ranked-choice voting also allows all voters to rank their true first choice in the first position without strategic considerations. Voting for a long-shot candidate in first column will not decrease the chance that your second or even your third choice could be elected if they have the support of the majority of voters.

After the winner is determined, no matter how many counting rounds are needed, each voter has had only one vote counted for either the winner or for one of the losers. This “one person, one vote” is the same as in the plurality voting method that has traditionally been used in Maine.

In any case, congratulations on exercising your right to rank your preferred candidates whether they are independent or represent political parties. For more on the mechanics of ranked-choice voting in Maine see the Maine Secretary of State’s website at

Rob Peale


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