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