Credit: George Danby / BDN

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

Improving the paper

Any newspaper can be improved. Plenty of people have spoken out against Matthew Gagnon. But recently the BDN outdid yourselves.

The smallest article in the whole paper on July 1 was about kids being given books. It was barely a couple of paragraphs and buried at the bottom of a page. Meanwhile there were four color pictures of a bunch of yahoos running around with guns. And a long boring article with it.

It should have been exactly the other way around. The kids who need books need publicity and help, and those other people needed to not have an article about them at all.

James Burns


Diminishing voting access

I write in agreement with Gray Cox’s July 6 letter regarding Sen. Susan Collins’ stance on S.1, the For the People Act. Our senator votes with her block to impede and diminish voting access for Americans across the country. Her “states’ rights” argument is disingenuous in today’s context of the restrictive laws sweeping red state America. The net result will not be “election integrity,” but instead it will create an impaired democracy.

I extend a request to every Republican voter to find their voice and speak out against this un-American movement to win by blocking the votes of others. Their silence is also their complicity.

Craig Kesselheim

Southwest Harbor

Gagnon wrong about RCV

I don’t know anything about the Portland Charter Commission or the people who ran for a seat on it, but I do know something about ranked-choice voting (RCV) and Matthew Gagnon (June 10 in the BDN) should not be writing a column maligning and misrepresenting it.

Ranked-choice voting is nothing more than an instant run-off when there are more than two candidates for one spot. Ranked-choice voting does not favor liberals or conservatives. Having a plurality of votes in the first round does not guarantee that a candidate will gain a majority in subsequent rounds. Ranked-choice voting does not guarantee a balanced group for a commission. It does not necessarily bring out more voters or make the election kinder and gentler, although this was hoped for.

The person who had 4.2 percent of the votes after the first round must not have had the least number of votes in the first round, or she would have been eliminated. She must have gained more votes in subsequent rounds to reach a majority and a seat on the commission. To say that this person won only 4.2 percent of the vote and yet won a seat on the commission is a falsehood. The ranked-choice voting result represented the 14 percent of eligible voters who turned out for the election. If the other 86 percent of eligible voters want to make their wishes known, they should vote and RCV will render an accurate majority outcome.

Art Newkirk

Blue Hill