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Having authorized an elected school board earlier this month, Montclair Township voters should now direct our attention to another extension of the franchise — ranked-choice voting.

Have you ever voted for “the lesser evil” because voting for your first choice would “throw your vote away?” Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If your vote does not help your top choice win, your vote counts for your next choice. That way, you can vote for your top choice without helping to elect a candidate you oppose.

Thus, ranked-choice voting helps independent and third-party candidates without hurting the major party candidate favored by the voter more than the other major party candidate.

Ranked-choice voting is currently being used in more than 26 cities, including New York City, and state-wide in Maine and Alaska. New Jersey should join them.

A bill, the New Jersey Municipal Instant Runoff Act, A4744/S2992, has been introduced in the Legislature. It is a good start, but needs to be strengthened. Moreover, no hearings have been scheduled.

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Montclair voters should contact their State Sen. Nina Gill, Assemblyman Thomas Giblin and Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake. Ask them to request hearings on A4744/S2992. Also, the current bill needs to be extended to all municipal elections, not merely nonpartisan and single-seat elections.

Ranked-choice voting increases voter choice and is non-partisan. At a time when some are working to suppress voting, we should work to expand it.

Rick Gutman

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