Supporters of ranked-choice voting submitted more than 80,000 signatures Friday to send the issue back to the Maine ballot in June after lawmakers voted to delay and potentially repeal the law. In November 2016, voters approved a ballot initiative that would make Maine the first state in the nation to implement ranked-choice voting. But lawmakers passed a law delaying the effective date until December 2021 and then repealing the ranked-choice voting process altogether if a constitutional amendment hasn’t been passed by then to address legal concerns.
Ranked-choice voting supporters responded last fall by launching a “people’s veto” campaign to overturn the Legislature’s decision to delay and repeal the law. Volunteers then collected more than 80,000 signatures during an 88-day period that included some of the coldest weeks in recent history. The campaign needs 61,123 signatures from registered Maine voters to qualify for the Maine ballot, and campaign spokeswoman Crystal Canney said town clerks have already certified 72,175 of the roughly 80,000 signatures.
In the meantime, the law to delay and repeal ranked-choice voting was effectively suspended once the group delivered the signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday.