The implementation of ranked-choice voting hangs in limbo. The system, which election reform advocates have called a “better way to vote,” could be headed back to voters or could die at the hands of the Legislature, depending on what happens with two 11th-hour bills allowed into the legislative process on Thursday. Maine voters approved a change to ranked-choice voting last year after supporters gathered enough signatures to place it on the November ballot. But that law was ransacked this week in an advisory decision by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which said the voting method would be in violation of the Maine Constitution. The Constitution states that Maine elections can be won by plurality. That means in a contest with more than two candidates, whoever receives the most votes wins even if that person doesn’t receive a majority of all votes cast.
… Senate Republicans and Democrats are approaching the issue from different angles. Legislative leaders on Thursday unanimously approved the introduction of two after-deadline bills from Sen. Catherine Breen, D-Falmouth and Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls.
Neither is written yet, but Breen’s bill would seek an amendment to the Maine Constitution that would bring it into compliance with the citizen-initiated bill from last year. That would require two-thirds approval by the Legislature and a win during another statewide referendum. Mason’s bill would repeal ranked-choice voting altogether.
Because of split majorities in the Legislature, either bill will need bipartisan support to move forward.