A bill delaying Maine’s switch to a ranked-choice voting system will apparently become law without Gov. Paul LePage’s signature. LePage, a vocal opponent of the ranked-choice voting ballot initiative passed by voters last year, told Maine Public on Friday that he will neither sign nor veto the bill that delays adoption of the new system until 2021. Instead, LePage indicated he will allow the bill to take effect without his signature. The governor’s communications office did not respond to a request for comment from the Portland Press Herald on Friday evening. But LePage’s decision to hold onto the bill for the full 10 days allowed under Maine’s Constitution could hamper supporters of ranked-choice voting from gathering signatures on Election Day for a “people’s veto” to implement the process without delay. Even so, LePage seemed to welcome the prospect of a people’s veto campaign.
“I encourage the people that want to have a people’s veto to bring it in,” LePage told Maine Public Radio. “It will be … the Supreme Court has already said it’s unconstitutional, so let the courts decide.”
Under a ranked-choice system, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote after the first tabulation, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. Voters who rank the eliminated candidate at the top of their list then have their ballots added to the totals of their second-ranked candidates, and the ballots are counted again. The process continues until one candidate has a clear majority.