Maine Republicans on Friday mounted the latest legal challenge against a new ranked voting method set for the June primary. The lawsuit targeting ranked-choice voting in federal court presented another 11th-hour legal challenge to the voting system. The lawsuit is against Democratic Secretary of State Matt Dunlap and asks a federal judge to prevent the use of ranked choice voting to decide Republican winners in the June primary. The party argues that requiring ranked-choice voting for Republican candidates violates the party’s First Amendment rights. “Because parties are collections of individuals, parties have rights,” said lawyer Josh Dunlap, who is representing the GOP. He is no relation to the secretary of state.
Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank candidates on the ballot in order of preference. A candidate with a majority of votes wins. If there is no majority, then the last-place candidate’s votes are reallocated and the votes are tabulated again.
The GOP wants the winner to simply have the most votes, or what’s known as a “plurality.” The lawsuit seeks to halt vote tabulation after the first round.
The Maine Senate already asked state courts to intervene because of constitutional questions. But the Maine Supreme Judicial Court allowed the voting system to remain in place for the primaries.