Maine voters will have an opportunity in November to reform the voting method used for all statewide elections (minus the presidential race) with Question 5, a ballot measure that would implement ranked choice voting. The measure received a huge boost Sunday, gaining the endorsement from the Portland Press Herald, Maine's biggest newspaper.
"We need an electoral system built for the way we live today, not for the way our grandparents lived," the Press Herald writes.
"This reform represents a bold change, but it’s a change that would bring back something we’ve lost – consensus politics in a time of political fragmentation." - Portland Press Herald Editorial Board
Question 5 would replace the current pick one, plurality voting system with ranked choice voting for all U.S. House, Senate, and state legislative elections. Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates by preference instead of simply voting for one candidate. Supporters say this eliminates the so-called "spoiler effect" and lesser-of-two-evil voting.
The Press Herald writes:
"If there are more than two candidates in the race and a voter has a second choice, the ballot has a place to register that preference. The voter can rank all the candidates or none. It’s the kind of decision that everybody makes every day of their lives. If you ever wanted strawberry ice cream but the store had only chocolate and vanilla, you ranked your choice by buying one of the other flavors or by skipping ice cream altogether. There is no trick to it."
As previously reported on IVN, Question 5 is likely to pass on November 8. A late September poll conducted by the Press Herald showed 48 percent of likely voters plan to vote for Question 5 while nearly a quarter remain undecided.
The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV Maine) also reports internal polling that shows the more people learn about ranked choice voting, the more likely they are to support it. The Press Herald's endorsement may give Question 5 the boost it needs to secure a victory on Election Day.