Element5 Digital via Unsplash

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.

SAVE MONTCLAIR LOCAL: We're overjoyed to report we've hit our fundraising goal of $230,000 this quarter for Montclair Local Nonprofit News! Montclair has stepped up to say local news matters, and we're hugely grateful. That gives our newsroom, your newsroom, security to operate well into 2022 while we continue to work toward long-term sustainability. We've seen what happens when news operations cut back or shut down. Communities suffer. We've seen it here in Montclair, and we believe you deserve better.

Visit MontclairLocal.news/donations to make your tax-deductible contribution today, to keep Montclair Local strong and help us do even more to serve the amazing community of Montclair.

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
Montclair


Montclair Local’s Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.

Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email letters@montclairlocal.news, or mail “Letters to the Editor,” 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer’s name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.

Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week’s Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.

Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our “Town Square” banner. “Town Square” essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to letters@montclairlocal.news at least seven days prior to publication.