Camden Herald Letter to the Editor

Jun 01, 2018

Lincolnville — The system is broken

Though like a lot of people I have always generally taken a somewhat active interest in politics, beyond voting not much has motivated me to get off my butt and try to help “spread the gospel” regarding any particular cause or candidate. Ranked Choice Voting and the implications it holds for the betterment of our democracy has changed that for me. So convinced am I that RCV is the key to a truly healthy democratic future that If I were only allowed to advocate for one thing politically ever again, more than any other cause or candidate it would be this.

The system we use to vote is to blame for yielding us results which do not give a true reflection of public sentiment or leave any elected official with a true feeling of majority mandate or support. It’s the system which many times leaves the winners feeling combative, like they still have to convince large swaths of the public they’re legit, and leaves losers and their supporters feeling robbed, cheated and under-represented. It is the current voting system which is responsible for that sinking feeling many of us have when we walk into the voting booth and are afraid to vote for who we really want because it might end up inadvertently helping our least favorite candidate the most.

There are myriad of other failures and shortcomings consequential to this system as well: it provides maximin opportunity for the influence of money, it encourages polarization on issues due to a lack of diversity of voices in the public discourse, it hobbles the ability for any third party ( much less fourth, fifth or beyond) from ever having a chance to establish itself, just to name a few.

Look where we are today and ask yourself if all of this isn’t true of our current political situation. It is not any particular party or individual which has put us there. That’s where voting by plurality has gotten us. “One person, one vote” should really be called “less choice, less voice.”

And here’s the thing, as unbelievable as it sounds, Maine voters and courts have already approved RCV three times in the last two years! The only reason it hasn’t been implemented is due to resistance by many of those put in power by the “less choice, less voice” method.

And so here we are. The last step needed to establish RCV in all Maine primary elections, and for general elections to U.S. House and Senate, is for voters to go to the polls on June 12 and vote YES on QUESTION 1. If we can do this, there are no more obstacles the “powers that be” can throw in our path. It’s important to know you do not have to be registered to any party in order to vote on the question. You only have to be registered to vote, period. It’s the last hurdle. Let’s get it done!

Selectman Jon Fishman


Comments (1)
Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Jun 03, 2018 17:28

The goal is to elect someone with the broadest support. Ranked choice voting doesn't do that. Instead, a candidate will win when he or she gathers up a plurality of successively weaker confidence votes.

What if the candidate eliminated in round one were actually every  other voters' second choice? That would seem to me to be the highest confidence outcome.  A plurality of second-place support would represent a broader base of support than some RCV outcomes.

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