Ranked-choice voting has been tested, and passed with flying colors, so it was shocking to see Edgar Allen Beem join the right-wing attack (Nov. 23). I could understand Al Diamon – he’s an entertainer, and a jolt of randomness from spoiler candidates makes elections more entertaining. But Beem should know better.
The election was simple and fair. To nobody’s surprise, the finalists were Golden and Poliquin. When the election came down to a head-to-head choice between the two, Second-District voters preferred Golden by a margin of 3,600 votes. What’s “cumbersome” or “confusing” about that? It proves what we would have only suspected without RCV – Poliquin stood no chance when he was the only candidate running against Golden, even though he would have had a fighting chance in a four-way random scramble.
It’s absurd to say only first-choice votes deserve to be counted. Settling for your second or third choice when your very favorite candidate is out of contention isn’t unfair, it’s what grown-up voters have to do all the time.
I agree, it’s a shame that the loser is calling foul, but that doesn’t mean we should let him have his way. If the only thing you care about is winning, of course you’re going to fight hard to keep a system that puts a thumb on the scales in your favor. In a close election, plurality voting rewards the candidate who’s least like the others, and that’s one thing a Poliquin or LePage have going for them. If you think a plurality is a meaningful measure of anythng, ask 100 people their favorite pro sports team. Suppose the Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins get 17 votes each, the Sea Dogs 14. If the other 18 like the Yankees, doesn’t that make the Yankees the most popular team in town?