Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said Monday that ranked-choice voting will be used in the June 12 primary after his office certified a people’s veto effort that thwarted the Legislature’s attempt to cancel the election system approved by voters in 2016. Dunlap deemed 66,687 of the approximately 77,000 submitted signatures to be valid, which means two things: Mainers will use ranked-choice voting in the primary and concurrently vote on whether to continue ranked-choice voting in the future. The people’s veto attempt certified Monday would nullify a law passed last year by legislators that at the time was seen as a death knell for ranked-choice voting. Instead, supporters of ranked-choice voting were able to exceed the people’s veto threshold for signatures in less than 90 days — but the long-term fate of the system depends on the June vote.
“This is going to be a real learning experience, and hopefully it’s a positive one,” said Dunlap. “That’s our goal, to make this run smoothly.”
In ranked-choice elections, voters choose multiple candidates in order of their preference. If no candidate garners more than 50 percent of the total vote, the last-place finisher is eliminated and the second choices of voters who cast ballots for that candidate are used in a retabulation. The process repeats until a winner emerges with a majority of the votes.