2018-05-04 / Letters

Clean energy production wins

To the editor,

At the Earth Day Celebration Saturday in Kennebunk, attendees had a chance to use ranked-choice voting to choose their answer to the following question: What do you think is the best action for us here in southern Maine to take for climate change?

Voters ranked their first, second and third choices. Subsidize clean energy production won first place with 68 percent of the vote. encourage eco-minded people to run for local government came in second with 32 percent of the vote, and subsidize weatherization efforts came in third, but with no first choice votes.

Following the Maine Supreme Court decision to use ranked-choice voting in the primary election coming up June 12, many attendees were interested in learning how ranked-choice voting works. Almost everyone used the ballots correctly, marking their first, second and third choices. Only one ballot had to be eliminated, because it had the first choice column filled in for all three questions — it was impossible to determine which was actually the first choice. Ballots filled in by several middle school students were all correctly done — and the students had no instructions except for those written on the ballot.

Ranked-choice voting will be especially helpful in June, because so many candidates are running in the primaries for governor. In the Democratic primary, for example, there are seven people running, and theoretically, one could win with just 15 percent of the vote.

With four candidates, the Republicans could nominate a candidate with just 26 percent of the vote. With ranked-choice, the candidates with the least support are eliminated in each round and the next best choices on those ballots are distributed accordingly.

Only one choice per voter is counted in each round: One person, one vote and candidates that remain in the contest keep their votes. It’s just like a runoff election, but voting is done in one day by ranking choices rather than requiring people to go back to the polls to vote again.

Ranked-choice voting is used in many cities throughout the United States, including Portland, but Maine will be the first state to use it in a state-wide primary election.

We will also vote on a referendum question in June. That question regards the People’s Veto of the Legislature’s decision to delay ranked choice voting. A yes vote confirms that the voter does want ranked choice voting to be used in future primary and federal elections. A change is needed in the state constitution before ranked choice voting can be used in state elections.

Victoria Adams

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