It’s time to bring ranked choice voting to Lewiston’s local elections. We have seen RCV work in Portland mayoral elections in 2011, 2015 and 2019, and in Maine’s 2018 primaries and federal general election. We know this system works, and gives voters a more meaningful voice in determining who their elected officials are. Ranked choice voting reduces the spoiler effect, empowering third (and fourth and fifth) parties, and it ensures that the ultimate winner has a true majoritarian mandate from the electorate.

Lewiston has already taken a small step in the right direction with our mayoral runoff elections.

In 2011, 2015 and 2017, the candidate who won the most votes in the first round did not ultimately end up winning the runoff, demonstrating the power of allowing voters to have a second choice. Yet all three elections required an additional month of rancor and division, along with an election held during a cold and busy holiday season — hardly an ideal time for voters to go to the polls.

Going forward, we should use ranked choice voting to have runoff elections instantly, not only for mayor, but also for city council and for the school committee. I hope the incoming mayor and city council will take up this issue, and implement ranked choice voting in all our local elections.

Kiernan Majerus-Collins, Lewiston

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