We’re seven weeks away from the general election.

But because of the pandemic, we have early voting this year, starting on Oct. 13.

That’s just four weeks away.

It’s hard for candidates to campaign this year.

People with compromised immune systems probably don’t want you knocking on their doors.

Large gatherings are prohibited.

And there’s less time to get your message out.

In Owensboro, there are four candidates for mayor and 16 for the four seats on the city commission.

That means winners will more than likely have less than 50% of the vote.

And it makes a case for ranked-choice voting.

That’s the system where voters aren’t limited to one choice.

Instead, we rank the candidates in preferential order.

One through four in the mayor’s race, for instance.

If one candidate receives more than half the vote, he or she wins.

If no one gets at least 50% of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated.

Then, they count the second-choice votes from those remaining.

And then, third place and so on until somebody gets a majority of support.

The drawback is that this takes a long time.

Stateline reported that “more than a week after voters across (Maine) cast their ballots, Democratic primary results still weren’t finalized. It took eight days for officials in Augusta, the state’s capital, to release the final results.”

This isn’t something new.

It’s been around for a century.

And today, 18 cities — including San Francisco and Minneapolis — use it for at least some of their elections.

Another three will join next year.

This system eliminates “spoiler” candidates — those who have no chance of winning, but draw votes away from major candidates.

Yes, there are pluses and minuses to every system.

And they need to be discussed.

But this is something that Kentucky should at least consider.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301


(1) comment

Stanley Lightner

Other states use this system and it appears to work well especially when one considers the cost of holding additional elections to determine the winner.

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