Voting protects, prevents and prevails

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:30am

Dear Editor:

Our Constitution empowers citizens with certain freedoms, independence, knowledge, and the right to choose its leaders by voting. We were not the first country to recognize the value of these rights as history of voting and democracy trace back to ancient Rome.

Voting selects leaders and proposed laws that are of value to us. Voting also holds elected officials accountable for their actions. When voting rights are denied to citizens, democracy is in peril.

Voting protects democracy and the rights of the people. Voting is a preventive measure -- officials who do not act on behalf of the majority citizens are at risk of being fired in the next election, if not before. Strong voting participation means democracy will prevail. Voting keeps power in the hands of the majority of people. The more citizens choose not to vote the more democracy weakens. Attempts to deny citizens’ right to vote and increased choosing not to vote, democracy and the country are weakened.

The 1918 Australian adoption of rank choice voting (RCV)/Instant Runoff voting (IRV) for elected offices has been successful at preventing a minority hold on government activity. It prevents government shutdown that cost taxpayers 24 billion dollars. A deliberate government shut down is unique in the world and the US has shut down 18 times.

Neither democracy nor the Constitution was designed for authoritarian governance at the expense of ignoring voters. Historically, voting rights were limited to white male landowners. Constitutional amendments gave voting rights to all citizens including females and citizens of color. When you vote today you are voting to maintain equality for all citizens, to reassert the value of justice and fair treatment.

Question #5 Rank Choice Voting has been successful in countries, cities and states for centuries. It refocuses the dialogue on what the people expect from their elected representatives. It reduces popularity contests, redirecting candidates to pay attention to voters. Ranking candidates is easy when they have spent time listening to you as much as you listen to them. Yes on 5, insures Maine democracy will be stronger, and “more accurate than voting” confirmed in Scientific American.

Jarryl Larson