Vying to implement ranked-choice voting by the June primaries, Maine political candidates have asked a court to institute the nation’s first electoral system where voters rank candidates by preference rather than casting a ballot for them. The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting and eight candidates filed the suit on Feb. 16 in Kennebec Superior Court, quoting Secretary Matthew Dunlap as stating weeks earlier that he planned to delay enactment of the new system, which is also known as instant runoff. Represented by the Portland firm Bernstein Shur, the candidates claim that they are “left guessing which method of election will decide their respective races.”
While Maine voters adopted the ranked-choice system in November 2016, the state’s highest court determined last May that the measure violated certain provisions of the Maine Constitution. State-level general elections must be determined by a plurality of votes, determined the court, but primaries and federal elections do not reference the same election plurality. Based on this opinion, the Maine Legislature passed a law in October 2017 to delay the system from taking effect until 2021.
Since then, however, more than 80,000 Mainers have signed a petition to place a people’s veto referendum on the June 12 ballot. The petition’s goal is to void certain parts of the Legislature’s law. But if the Secretary of State’s Office certifies the signatures, the voters will have a chance to decide to use the system on the ballot in June, and the Legislature’s law will be delayed so that the system will be in place to tally June’s primary contests.
Full Article: Maine Court Urged to Institute Ranked-Choice Voting.