The Maine Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to legislation sponsored by Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, to amend Maine’s constitution to allow for the implementation of Ranked-Choice Voting in 10 state and federal elections and primaries. Voters approved the implementation of ranked-choice voting, also known as “instant runoff voting,” at the ballot box last year. Ranked-Choice Voting allows voters to cast their vote for multiple candidates, ranked in order of preference. A series of runoffs occur, redistributing ballots according to the voter’s rankings, until one candidate has a majority of votes.
“Voters demanded election reform, and it’s our responsibility to ensure they get it,” said Sen. Breen. “Ranked-choice voting gives voters more choices, and encourages candidates to run campaigns that appear to voters outside their normal base of support. And perhaps most importantly, it eliminates the ‘spoiler effect,’ giving voters the ability to cast their ballots for the candidate they truly prefer, not just the one they think has the best chance of winning.”
Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that ranked-choice voting would be unconstitutional in three instances – general elections for State Senator, State Representative and Governor – where the Constitution dictates that victors may be chosen by “plurality.”