Maine

Articles about voting issues in Maine.

Maine: Elections chief compares ranked-choice vote count to ‘trying to get through a burning barn in a gasoline suit’ | Bangor Daily News

State election workers forged new ground Friday when the process of counting ranked-choice voting kicked off with political observers hovering to ensure they do it right. In Augusta, workers loaded information from memory sticks to computers while others fed paper ballots through a tabulator capable of counting 300 ballots a minute. That process will continue until early next week, when all the ballot information is finally loaded into the system. Then, a keystroke or two on a single laptop computer will compute the first-round totals in a matter of moments. Read More

Maine: Voters vote to keep ranked-choice voting, with supporters holding commanding lead | Portland Press Herald

Mainers supported ranked-choice voting for the second time in two years with the passage of a people’s veto on Tuesday, making the state the first in modern times to overhaul its system for choosing candidates. Supporters of Question 1 held a big lead statewide as of 10:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results from the Associated Press. With 77 percent of precincts reporting, the measure to proceed with ranked-choice voting had a total of 127,048 yes votes, and  106,607 no votes, results showed. The race was called early Wednesday morning. Maine voters first approved ranked-choice voting by referendum in November 2016, but the law was mired in legal challenges for nearly a year. The Republican-led Legislature passed a bill in October 2017 that sought to delay implementation, and supporters then responded by gathering enough signatures to force a people’s veto. That’s what was on the ballot Tuesday. Read More

Maine: With first ranked-choice election, LePage says he ‘probably’ won’t certify results | Portland Press Herald

As Mainers headed to the polls for primary voting Tuesday morning, Gov. Paul LePage announced he may not certify the results. Tuesday is the first time in Maine when voters statewide will use a ranked-choice system, which allows voters to submit a ballot that ranks votes for candidates in order of preference. It is being used in both parties’ voting for gubernatorial candidates, a race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House in the state’s 2nd Congressional district and a state legislative seat. LePage, in an interview with WCSH-TV, called the voting system “the most horrific thing in the world” and said he “probably” won’t certify the results and instead will “leave it up to the courts to decide.” Read More

Maine: Voters to field-test ranked-choice voting in June primaries | Portland Press Herald

Maine voters will finally get their chance to try out the hotly debated ranked-choice voting system when they head to the polls to select party nominees for governor, Congress and the Legislature on June 12. While they’re in the voting booth, Mainers will also face Question 1 on their ballots, asking them if they want to keep the first-in-the-nation ranked-choice system in place by rejecting a bill the Legislature passed to repeal it. The road to ranked-choice voting has been a twisting one ever since 52 percent of voters approved the system at the ballot box in November 2016. A series of legal challenges by opponents has been steadily beaten back by ranked-choice advocates, who say the new system will temper the partisan divide and foster the election of candidates from the political center. Read More

Maine: Judge denies Republicans’ bid to escape ranked-choice voting in June 12 primaries | Portland Press Herald

A federal judge on Tuesday turned down a request for a preliminary injunction barring the use of ranked-choice voting in the Maine Republican Party’s June 12 primaries, including the contest to become the party’s gubernatorial candidate. The party filed suit after its state convention in early May, saying delegates unanimously wanted to continue to use a plurality vote in the primary, meaning that the candidate who gets the most votes in the initial round of balloting would win. But the Maine secretary of state had decided that ranked-choice voting, adopted by referendum in 2016, would be used in this year’s primary balloting. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Levy dismissed the party’s main argument – that ranked-choice voting might result in a different candidate being selected than if the nominee were chosen in a plurality vote. The party had argued that ranked-choice voting therefore violated its First Amendment rights of freedom to associate. Read More

Maine: Republicans make their legal case against ranked-choice voting | Bangor Daily News

A federal judge said Wednesday that he will rule next week on the Maine Republican Party’s bid to have a voter-approved ranked-choice voting system thrown out for the party’s two June 12 primaries, including a crucial four-way gubernatorial race. It’s perhaps the last legal gauntlet that ranked-choice voting must run before the June 12 primary, where Maine will become the first state to use the method after voters approved it in 2016 and the state’s high court cleared the way for it to be used in an April decision. The state party sued Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap in U.S. District Court in early May, after delegates at the state convention authorized a rule that called for gubernatorial and legislative candidates to be elected by a plurality as candidates have been elected in the past. Read More

Maine: Republicans’ court filing takes aim at ranked-choice voting | Portland Press Herald

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. Read More

Maine: Judge rules ranked-choice voting group can’t intervene in lawsuit to block it | Portland Press Herald

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a statewide committee supporting the use of ranked-choice voting in the June 12 primary election should not be allowed to intervene in a pending lawsuit that seeks to block use of the voter-approved system next month. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy said The Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting’s participation in the lawsuit “would complicate a case that badly needs to be expedited.” Levy said the committee should instead file a friend of the court brief in support of the Secretary of State’s Office by Monday. Read More

Maine: GOP Brings Federal Challenge to Ranked-Choice Voting | Courthouse News

A month after Maine’s highest court upheld the election-law shift, state Republicans brought a federal complaint Friday that casts the country’s first ranked-choice voting system as unconstitutional. Also known as instant-runoff voting, the system by which voters rank candidates by preference, rather than casting a ballot for them, was voted into law via ballot initiative in November 2016. Maine’s Republican Party tapped attorneys at Pierce Atwood for their court challenge to the so-called RCV Act on Friday. With election primaries scheduled for June 12, the party says it has a constitutional right to determine how nominees are selected, and that instant-runoff voting would frustrate this aim. Read More

Maine: Republican Leaders Challenge Ranked Voting at Convention | Associated Press

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. Read More