Ranked-choice voting is a system “designed to change election outcomes and messages” and alter the Maine Republican Party itself, the party said in its latest court filing over the controversial election method. Monday’s filing supports a federal court lawsuit the party filed to stop the use of ranked-choice voting, which was adopted by Maine voters in a 2016 referendum. The party says that “ranked-choice voting is designed to change the character of the party” and shouldn’t be forced on Republicans in the June 12 primary.
“One need only consider what would have happened to the Republican Party – and the country – if Lincoln had not been its nominee in 1860,” lawyer Joshua D. Dunlap said rhetorically in the brief. “Changing election outcomes and election messaging is the only purpose the RCV Act serves.”
Under ranked-choice voting, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If, after the first count, no one wins a clear majority – more than 50 percent – of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and his or her voters’ second choices are added to the totals of the other candidates. Then the ballots are retabulated, and the process continues until one candidate has a majority and is declared the winner.