Editor, Townsman:

Should elected officials earn 22% or over 50% of their citizens' votes? I believe over 50%.

Unfortunately our current system of voting, which relies on a plurality not a majority of votes, helps candidates get elected without having the majority of public support.

In 2018, my congresswoman won her party primary with less than 22% of the votes cast. In 2020, another congressman in Massachusetts won with less than 23%.

For ranked-choice voting, instead of voting for one person, you rank candidates by preference on your ballot.

If a candidate wins over 50% of first-preference votes, he or she will be declared the winner. If no candidate wins over 50%, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated and their second-preference choices are re-allocated among the remaining candidates.

The process is repeated until a candidate wins a majority, i.e. greater than 50%, of votes cast.

Outside of electing officials with majority support, ranked-choice voting eliminates the “spoiler effect” that discourages voting for third-party candidates because of the fear of siphoning votes to reward an election to a dissimilar candidate.

Ranked-choice voting also encourages more competition for candidates to run against well monied, red and blue party duopoly darlings.

Ranked-choice voting enables elections to be more civil and honest because candidates are incentivized to win your second choice vote if they can’t win your first.

Candidates are also less likely to fixate on extreme right or left fringe causes, but instead find more common ground with their constituents based on shared visions for the future.

Ranked-choice voting is currently being used across the country in cities such as Cambridge, San Francisco and Minneapolis, as well as across the world in countries such as Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

Voters in Maine passed statewide ranked-choice voting in 2016 for use in primaries and general elections, and they will be the first to use it in voting for our president.

I urge your readers to vote for more voice and more choice, but voting "yes" on Question 2 in this election’s ballot or by Nov. 3.

Thomas Hartwell



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