Regarding the Jan. 25 editorial “Ranked choice is the right choice”:

I am 68 years old and have lived in Maryland for most of those years. As such, I remember the early steps leading to Spiro Agnew becoming Richard M. Nixon’s vice president and subsequently resigning in disgrace over a bribery scandal. The story started with the 1966 Democratic primary for Maryland governor: The top three vote-getters were George Mahoney (30.21 percent), Carlton Sickles (29.84 percent) and Thomas Finan (27.31 percent). Mahoney was a segregationist who ran on the motto “Your home is your castle — protect it.”

In the general election, which pitted Mahoney against Agnew, the liberals voted for Agnew. Yes, that’s right: The liberals voted for Agnew and, of course, Agnew won.


I am recalling these events to support instant- runoff voting in Maryland. If it had been used in the Democratic primary in 1966, history would have been changed for the better.


Michael Ball, Silver Spring

The editorial “Ranked choice is the right choice” highlighted a number of compelling reasons that legislators in Maryland and in Virginia should advance ranked-choice-voting legislation.

Notably, ranked-choice voting has helped elect more candidates of color and women. Women and people of color hold large majorities of the seats in the 53 San Francisco Bay area offices elected by ranked-choice voting. Studies indicate that this increase is, in part, because of greater numbers of women and people of color deciding to run, because ranked-choice elections are known to be more civil and issue-focused and because voters have more power to elect candidates who reflect their views with no danger of vote-splitting among like-minded constituencies.

Reforms such as ranked-choice voting are powerful tools to ensure that elected bodies reflect the constituents they serve, which, as John Adams opined, “should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large.”

Cynthia Richie Terrell, Takoma Park

The writer is founder and director of RepresentWomen.