If a citizens’ veto effort is successful, Maine voters could be deciding at the June primaries whether to repeal a bill that delays until 2021 implementation of ranked choice voting (RCV). The catch: Voters would use RCV to cast votes in all of the primary races in that June primary. If the people’s veto is successful, it will allow Maine voters to use the ranking system for federal elections — U.S. House and Senate — but not state-level races during the general elections. Supporters of RCV turned to a people’s veto after lawmakers approved the delay bill in October. A people’s veto is when Maine voters overturn a law passed by the legislature. If campaigners can gather 61,123 signatures by Feb. 2, the issue of whether to repeal the delay bill will go to Maine voters.
The number of signatures required is 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election — in this case, 2014. The Feb. 2 deadline is 90 days from the moment of the Legislature’s adjournment after they passed the bill in question.
The people’s veto effort alone puts the legislature’s delaying bill on ice. That means RCV, which was approved by voters in the 2016 election, would have to be implemented for counting June’s ballot, if they gather the required number of signatures.
For supporters of RCV, a driving force is the determination to hold legislators accountable for what RCV advocates see as a failure to follow the will of Maine’s voters.