A Maine Superior Court justice — who said Friday afternoon that “you are asking me to do something courts don’t like to do” — will likely make the next key decision about whether ranked-choice voting will be used in the June primary election. Justice Michaela Murphy heard testimony Friday afternoon from attorneys for the Maine secretary of state and the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting on a matter that has been simmering between November 2016 when a referendum created ranked-choice voting in Maine and Wednesday of this week, when conflicts were discovered in different sections of Maine law. At issue is language in one place that says primary elections should be decided by a plurality — in other words whoever receives the most votes — and another section that says elections should be decided by a majority, as ranked-choice voting is supposed to do.
Meanwhile, the elections division of the secretary of state’s office is scrambling to prepare for the June primaries by designing and printing ballots without knowing which method will be used.
Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardner, representing Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, and attorney James Monteleone, who represents ranked-choice supporters, said their clients agree that the intent of the citizen-initiated legislation, and by extension the voters, was and is that ranked-choice voting should be used in this June’s primary.