A friend told me recently how overwhelmed she felt by the number of candidates in the Maine gubernatorial primary. There was one candidate she knew she supported, but she hadn’t had the time or inclination to adequately research all of the others. She said that she was concerned about the prospect of ranked-choice voting because she didn’t feel well enough informed to rank all of the candidates on a ballot. She was relieved when I explained that she would not, in fact, be required to rank all of the candidates if she didn’t want to.

I imagine there may be others who share my friend’s confusion and concern about RCV, so I thought it would be worth writing in to remind people that it is perfectly OK to use an RCV ballot to vote for just one candidate, or only as many as a voter may wish.

In fact, ideally, voters should refrain from ranking any candidate that they are not familiar with, or do not approve of.

Clearly, for those voters who have feelings one way or the other about more than one of the candidates, the RCV ballot provides a great opportunity to weigh in if their first choice (or second, or third, etc.) doesn’t win a majority. But quite simply, the RCV system does not “require” voters to rank candidates.

Greg Kimber, Temple

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