A group that wants to implement ranked-choice voting in Maine elections plans to wait until 2016 to put its proposal before voters. The Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting had been considering filing signatures to force a referendum this November, but it now wants more time to educate voters on the proposal’s merits, said former independent Sen. Richard Woodbury, who is helping to lead the effort. Under the group’s proposal — which would apply to races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and state Legislature — voters would rank candidates by order of preference. The first-choice votes would be counted, but if no one receives a majority, then the person who received the fewest is eliminated.
Voting officials would then re-distribute the second-place votes from the ballots of the eliminated candidate to those who remain. That would continue until someone gets more than 50 percent of the votes.
Currently, campaigns focus less on policy and more on whether one of the contenders is dividing the vote when there are three or more candidates in a race, Woodbury said.
In last year’s race gubernatorial contest, independent Eliot Cutler had to overcome the idea that he was a spoiler, whose presence in the race would help Republican Gov. Paul LePage win another term.