Last month’s government shutdown illustrates just how badly the American political system has failed. For decades voters have been forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

We’ve known how gerrymandering, voter fraud, and big business lobbying corrupt American politics, but there’s something even more ingrained that Republicans and Democrats count on to strangle political fairness, something that Mainer’s have recently voted to change: The way votes are counted.

To understand the changes Ranked Choice Voting will bring in 2018 we first need to understand the old Plurality Voting System and its problems. Plurality Voting is the most widespread voting system in democracies today and is based on the idea that one person votes for one candidate. The logic is that the voter will choose who they think will best represent them.

But this almost never happens.

What we get instead is called “tactical voting,” or the lesser of two evils. We saw this a lot in 2016, where votes were not so much for one candidate but against that candidate’s opponent. It also excludes third parties and hurts political dialogue.

For example, many libertarians chose to vote for the authoritarian Trump because their own party was too weak to challenge Clinton. Closer to home, just look at how Eliot Cutler split the vote and allowed Gov. LePage to take office. Regardless of your support for the current governor, this is a dangerous situation to have. If the left can fall victim to tactical voting, so can the right.

This is why Maine, perhaps more than any other state, needs Ranked Choice Voting. It’s no secret that we have an independent streak, and even our bleeding-heart liberals and die-hard conservatives find common ground more often than not. With RCV Mainers will be allowed to vote based on their real beliefs, not just based on who they think will win.

So how does RCV work? The government has been willfully silent. Basically, instead of voting for just one candidate, voters will rank all candidates in terms of support.

Let’s look at an independent voter in 2014 under both systems. Under plurality, this voter is forced to make a difficult choice: Vote Cutler, who nearly everyone predicts to lose, or vote for whichever party candidate they hate the least.

Now compare that to ranked choice. They rank Cutler first, and (let’s say) LePage second, and Michaud, third. The votes are tallied, and Cutler loses, but instead of those votes being meaningless, they are instead distributed to the other two candidates. Now, regardless of which party wins, the election is both much closer and better reflects the beliefs of Maine’s people.

Ranked Choice Voting is by no means a perfect system. Like the 2014 example shows, elections still trend toward a two-party system. But what it does allow is greater political diversity and a better shot for third-party candidates.

Right now, the two major parties are Frankenstein’s monsters of ideology. The Republicans need to juggle religious fundamentalism, as well as small government freedoms, along with strong military spending while also favoring tax cuts.

Meanwhile, Democrats need to pretend that socialist reformers and Wall Street executives are somehow singing “kumbaya” together on Election Day.

Ranked Choice Voting will give each of these competing groups a separate platform away from the main parties to express their views. Maine in 2018 will finally get a taste of real political dialogue, where third parties will no longer get booed down due to fears of splitting the vote.

This June, Maine’s 1.3 million voters will be able to tell the government what they really want, and for once it will be forced to listen.

Griffin Tibbitts is a Morse High School graduate, and a first-year student studying history and biology at McGill University in Montreal.