11.16.2010

Fair Elections

The Sun Journal posted my letter to the editor in response to one of their editorials on Ranked Choice or Instant Runoff voting:
The editorial board of the Sun Journal appears to be out of the loop regarding electoral reform in Maine as demonstrated by its Nov. 11 editorial on ranked-choice voting.
Favorable stories, letters and op-eds have been published in two other major Maine newspapers. Various other political action committees and grassroots organizations are buzzing about electoral reform. Democrats are talking about it in their municipal and county meetings. So are Maine Greens, Libertarians and tea party activists.
The city of Portland has recently elected to have their mayor chosen by majority (ranked choice) voting. The entire country of Australia uses majority rule successfully. Other communities around the United States have chosen to implement some version of ranked-choice or “instant-runoff” voting in the spirit of majority rule. Even college football fans should recognize that “USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll” is an example of ranked choice.
Majority-rule voting is the fairest way to find a compromise between blocs of voters in Maine. The “first-past-the-post, winner-take-all, minority-rule” plurality system that Maine uses fosters the caustic, ad hominem campaigns that grid-lock politics in Augusta.
Mainers deserve a fairer system that doesn’t entail hours of monotonous attack advertisements on TV from special interest groups or mail boxes stuffed with useless propaganda that makes a beeline for the recycling bin.
We deserve a system that finds common ground for all citizens. We deserve a system that is compatible with a majority of independent Mainers who would rather see the state move forward than toward ideological warfare.
It’s hard to argue that majority rule is unfair and shouldn’t be used in Maine. The Sun Journal does the public a disfavor by publishing it’s pessimistic opinion regarding the traction that majority rule voting reform will get in Maine.
The editorialist is right that it will be difficult to get legislation passed, but is clearly oblivious to the groundswell of energy behind majority rule voting that is brewing as fast as Baxter’s canned beer.
A citizen’s initiative is on the horizon, and I hope the Sun Journal will lend its support in the movement for fair elections.

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