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Westbrook adopts ranked-choice voting for local races

Election 2021 Maine
Robert F. Bukaty
Election workers Sheila McDonough, left, and Kathleen Reid chat while waiting for voters at the American Legion Post 35 poling place, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in South Portland, Maine.

The city of Westbrook has become the second municipality in Maine to adopt ranked-choice voting for local elections, after 63 percent of residents voted in support of using the system for the city's mayoral, school committee and city council elections.

Anna Kellar, the executive director of the League of Women Voters, says ranked-choice voting ensures that election winners have the support of the majority of the voters — even in tight races with multiple candidates.

"We also see that there are so many local elections, especially in some of the towns that have been seeing really hotly contested elections, where there are three, four, five candidates who are running for some of these local positions. So that really starts to raise the urgency and the value for ranked-choice voting, as well," Kellar says.

The city of Portland was the first in Maine to adopt ranked-choice voting, back in 2010.

Kellar says ranked-choice voting could expand to other towns in the future, as voters in a few other municipalities have begun exploring how to bring the method to their own community.