Go to content, skip over navigation


More Pages

Go to content, skip over visible header bar
Home News Features Arts & Entertainment Sports OpinionAbout Contact Advertise

Note about Unsupported Devices:

You seem to be browsing on a screen size, browser, or device that this website cannot support. Some things might look and act a little weird.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A note on ranked choice voting in presidential elections

October 2, 2020

This piece represents the opinion of the author .

To the Editor:

In her op-ed last week, “Maine Progressives: Rank Biden Second,” Livia Kunins-Berkowitz argued that since Maine offers ranked-choice voting, progressives should place as their first choice a more progressive candidate, such as Howie Hawkins of the Green Party. This is an ill-advised suggestion with potentially disastrous consequences.

Yes, in all likelihood, Hawkins will only receive a small share of first-choice votes, and those votes will be transferred to Biden. However, in the unlikely event that Hawkins wins a majority in Maine, he will be depriving Biden of four potentially crucial electoral votes—ones which may well provide the margin of victory this year*. Therefore, even though ranking Hawkins first and Biden second in Maine is not nearly as reckless as voting for Hawkins outright in a different state, doing so is reckless nonetheless.

If our presidential elections were decided by popular vote, I would have no issues with Mainers voting “according to their values.” For better or worse, though, it is the Electoral College which decides the election. Therefore if, like Kunins-Berkowitz, you are “committed to preventing the re-election of Donald Trump,” I urge you to rank Biden first.

*Indeed, discounting a single faithless elector from Washington, D.C., four electoral votes was George W. Bush’s margin of victory in 2000.


Theo Danzig ’22



Before submitting a comment, please review our comment policy. Some key points from the policy:

  • No hate speech, profanity, disrespectful or threatening comments.
  • No personal attacks on reporters.
  • Comments must be under 200 words.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a real name or identifier ("Class of '92").
  • Any comments made with an email address that does not belong to you will get removed.


  1. John says:

    Great piece. I cannot agree more.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is…a hot take and doing nothing but making progressives less likely to rank Biden at all. Yes, we all realize that Donald Trump is an authoritarian and existential threat to America, but, discouraging people from voting their values is definitely something that depresses turnout. Also, the odds at a candidate currently getting less than 4% in the most optimistic polls gets a plurality are really low, so your use of the word reckless is moral grandstanding at best.

    I also take issue with the logic. Why should we not be doing everything possible with a popular vote? Like why suddenly then could we just vote our values and hope for the best? Just because we think Biden would win? Because by your own logic, that’s not a good enough reason.

  3. 2016 Polar Bear says:

    Young Theo here proving that even with the ranked choice voting system in place that we fought for in Maine , dems and libs will in fact, still find any way possible to try and vote shame actual progressives.

Leave a Reply

Any comments that do not follow the policy will not be published.

0/200 words