Sadly, one of Scarborough’s legislators, Rep. Heather Sirocki, seems to be leading a battle hoping to stop ranked choice voting from being approved by voters this fall.
In the 1880s, we amended Maine’s constitution to ensure once and for all that the people, not the legislature, elected our leaders in Augusta and Washington. Now, as the movement for ranked choice voting gains momentum across the state, Rep. Sirocki is trying to stop this improvement.
Ranked choice boting is used by many American cities, including, since the 1940s, Cambridge, Mass. Others cities include San Francisco and St. Paul, Minn.
The Portland Press Herald editorial board gave a glowing report on Portland’s first implementation and administration of ranked choice voting in 2011 for its 15-candidate mayoral election.
This was followed by a very positive exit poll clarifying just how easily voters understood their ballots: http://instantrunoff.com/assets/NewFolder-2/Portland-ME-Survey-11-3-11.pdf
Rep. Sirocki argues that RCV is too complicated for voters to understand. While seeking petition signatures a year ago to place RCV on the November 2016 ballot, many voters asked me to explain RCV.
Similarly to the ready understanding reported of Portland’s first-use of rank choice voting, I found most people, after my short explanation, quickly grasped its simplicity and signed my petition. However, a few of the voters I talked with were unable to comprehend the RCV process, with comments typically suggesting RCV math was too complicated. As a one-time volunteer algebra teacher, I learned a few people really couldn’t understand how to apply arithmetic.
Rep. Sirocki’s argument that many potential voters are turned off by today’s negative campaigning, is actually alleviated by ranked choice voting. Because voters are able to vote for their second choice, any candidate who attacks their favorite candidate is less likely to receive second-choice support. Would you award your second-choice vote to a candidate who suggested your favorite candidate is a stupid scoundrel?
I encourage Scarborough voters to support ranked choice voting this November to modernize our election process and elect candidates by a more positive, more issues-based process.