I thank the people of Maine for passing the ranked-choice voting referendum in November. The race for Sen. Angus King’s seat is shaping up to be quite interesting more than a year before the election. Sen. King will be running again, but Gov. Paul LePage and State Sen. Eric Brakey have already expressed interest in that office.
Will one of them run as an independent if he does not win the Republican nomination? How strong will the Democrats’ nominee be?
I am confident that the best person will be elected under ranked-choice voting. Citizens will not have to participate in “strategic voting” as they have in so many previous races. Voters won’t have to assess the chances of the various candidates and decide whether to vote for the candidate they like best or against a candidate they really dislike (by voting for someone who can beat him/her but whom they don’t really like much either).
Instead, Mainers will have the opportunity to tell the secretary of state, “I like this candidate best, but if he/she can’t win, I want my vote to go to this other candidate.”
Ranked-choice voting won handily last year. Understandably, legislators have asked the Maine Supreme Court to render an opinion on its constitutionality. But it would be a great disservice to Maine’s people if the Legislature tied up ranked-choice voting in bureaucratic wrangling.
The people of Maine have spoken. I expect to utilize ranked-choice voting on Election Day, November 2018.
Ben Lounsbury, Auburn