So long, spoilers.That’s the message two Yarmouth legislators hope to send with legislation aimed at eliminating the chances of electing statewide candidates with less than a majority vote. Freshman Rep. Janice Cooper, D-Yarmouth, and veteran legislator Sen. Dick Woodbury, U-Yarmouth, have submitted draft legislation for ranked-choice voting to the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee. “Today, there are more third-party and unenrolled candidates, and the current system doesn’t work well when there’s a broader range,” Woodbury said. “I think that it tends to give an advantage to candidates that are more at the party extremes, and are less moderate, which can lead to candidates winning with less than 50 percent of the support from voters.”
Under Woodbury’s and Cooper’s proposed bills, the procedure for statewide elections would be similar to Portland’s mayoral elections, where voters enacted a ranked-choice system in 2011.
The system allows voters to rank candidates according to their preference: first, second, third, etc., until they no longer have a preference or all candidates have been given a ranking.
If on Election Day no candidates receive a majority of votes, an instant runoff election occurs. Candidates with the fewest first-choice votes are eliminated, with their votes redistributed among the remaining candidates. Successive rounds continue until a candidate receives a majority.