Idea in progress

By Jon Hinck
Published January 26th 2007 in Portland (ME) Phoenix
Thanks to Jeff Inglis for his piece “Ideas From Away” (January 3) and all the ideas for improving our community. I took particular note of Jeff’s suggestion that Maine adopt “transferable” or “instant run-off voting.” By coincidence, last month I submitted a bill to the Maine Legislature to do just that. The bill, “An Act to Establish Instant Run-off Voting,” would require that the new system be in place by the next gubernatorial race in 2010.

Under instant run-off voting, elections run a little differently. The ballot gives voters the opportunity to rank all of the candidates instead of just singling out one choice. If, after counting voters’ first choices, no candidate has a majority (as happened again in the 2006), the candidate receiving the fewest first-place choices is eliminated and votes are recounted. If need be, there are a series of such run-offs using the next ranked preferences of voters whose top choices are eliminated. This process continues until one candidate gets a majority of votes. This gives voters a better opportunity to express their preferences and especially works for those of us who may favor someone not viewed as “a major candidate.” Even when your top candidate falls short, you can still have a role in deciding the ultimate winner. I support this as one way to open up the election process. Other supporters are encouraged to help get the bill passed.

Jon Hinck
State Representative, D-Portland