November 3, 2020
The Maine Thing
- Many people speak of voting for the “lesser evil.”
- This is the first year a state will be utilizing ranked choice voting in a presidential election, and that state is Maine.
- The beauty of ranked choice voting is that it has the potential to broaden our choices by removing fear of doing more harm than good should our conscience dictate we vote third party.
So many Americans exercise their right to vote unenthusiastically. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes, we feel our voice won’t be heard. Sometimes, we are not excited about who we are voting for. Many people speak of voting for the “lesser evil,” making it clear plenty of people are not excited about their options for elected officials. It is hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t like to vote for their most ideal candidate without worrying about whether they are “throwing away their vote,” or feeling guilty about, “splitting,” their second-choice party (also known as the lesser evil.)
One solution is ranked choice voting. This is the first year a state will be utilizing ranked choice voting in a presidential election, and that state is Maine. Tomorrow, as we wait to see the outcome of the big races, as well as the ones taking place in our own backyards, remember to keep an eye on how things are unfolding in Maine.
For those who aren’t familiar with the process, just as the name implies, voters rank the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the one who received the smallest share is eliminated, and that candidate’s votes are redistributed to the voter’s second choice. This process continues until a candidate gets a majority.
The beauty of ranked choice voting is that it has the potential to broaden our options by removing fear of doing more harm than good should our conscience dictate we vote third party. Although the process may be slightly more complex, the freedom of having more viable candidates and a result closer to what people truly want in their officials is well worth a more complex tallying process.
So, keep an eye on Maine. If you like what you see, contact your officials when the dust settles after this election, and push for it. Maybe in four years we won’t have to consider lesser evils.