State lawmakers have little time to determine how to implement the ranked choice voting law that was passed by voters in November. Following the Maine Supreme Court’s advisory opinion that the law was in conflict with the state constitution, lawmakers have three options moving forward. The law, as it stands, would allow residents to rank their ballot choices from first to last in a system that ensures a candidate wins majority support. “Has anyone ever wondered why we are having so many citizen’s initiatives on ballots these days? It’s because the people of Maine think that they are not being heard by this legislature,” said Rep. Kent Ackley, (I). Some lawmakers support allowing the voting system to proceed in federal elections, as the questions of constitutionality pertain only to elections for governor and state lawmakers. Other legislators hope to amend Maine’s constitution to bring the full law into compliance.
“The objective of this amendment is simple – references to ‘pluralities’ in the Maine constitution would be struck and replaced with the word ‘majorities,’” said Sen. Cathy Breen, (D) the sponsor of the bill that proposes a constitutional amendment.
“One of the pieces that voters were really affirming is this desire for elections to have more of a measure of civility, to be able to vote in conscience for the person that you think is the best without trying to determine whether that’s going to throw off the election,” said Sen. Shenna Bellows, (D) supports amending the constitution.