Maine

Articles about voting issues in Maine.

Maine: Technical glitch delays state RCV ballot count | The Ellsworth American

Go online and you can buy a USB memory stick, or thumb drive, for 10 bucks or less. Even a premium, high-speed 128-gigabyte device can be had for less than $50 and delivered to the door overnight. It appears, though, that a small, relatively inexpensive, device caused big problems for the Secretary of State’s Office. Last week, Maine voters went to the polls to select gubernatorial and other candidates in Democratic and Republican primary elections and to decide whether to continue ranked choice voting (RCV) in national elections and party primaries. As of Wednesday morning, Democrats were still waiting to find out who their candidate for governor would be come November and who would challenge Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the general election to represent Maine’s Second Congressional District.

On Tuesday, completion of the preliminary RCV tally that would answer those questions was delayed. Earlier in the day, technical problems forced Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to send staff detectives to retrieve paper ballots from two Hancock County municipalities, Ellsworth and Orland, as well as from Gray, Lewiston and Westbrook. The reason was that digital images of some scanned ballots could not be read by the tabulation computers at the Secretary of State’s Office, so the original paper ballots had to be recovered and rescanned.

Full Article: Technical glitch delays state RCV ballot count - The Ellsworth AmericanThe Ellsworth American.

Maine: Ranked-choice ballot count delayed due to memory stick issue | WGME

There’s been a delay in the tabulation of the ranked-choice ballots, as Democrats wait for a gubernatorial candidate to be announced. It was looking like the ranked-choice results would be in Tuesday, when a problem was discovered with a few voting memory sticks not loading into the computer. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says those memory sticks worked on election night, but now they won’t download.

Full Article: Ranked-choice ballot count delayed due to memory stick issue | WGME.

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.

Full Article: Maine elections chief compares ranked-choice vote count to ‘trying to get through a burning barn in a gasoline suit’ — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

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.

Full Article: Mainers vote to keep ranked-choice voting, with supporters holding commanding lead - Portland Press Herald.

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.”

Full Article: With first ranked-choice election, LePage says he ‘probably’ won’t certify results - Lewiston Sun Journal.

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.

Full Article: Maine voters to field-test ranked-choice voting in June primaries - Portland Press Herald.

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.

Full Article: Judge denies Republicans' bid to escape ranked-choice voting in June 12 primaries - Portland Press Herald.

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.

Full Article: Maine Republicans make their legal case against ranked-choice voting — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

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.

Full Article: Republicans' court filing takes aim at ranked-choice voting - Portland Press Herald.

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.

Full Article: Judge rules ranked-choice voting group can't intervene in lawsuit to block it - Portland Press Herald.

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.

Full Article: Maine GOP Brings Federal Challenge to Ranked-Choice Voting.

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.

Full Article: Republican Leaders Challenge Ranked Voting at Convention | Maine News | US News.

Maine: Top court clears way for ranked-choice voting in June | Bangor Daily News

Ranked-choice voting will be used in Maine’s June primary elections, the state’s high court ruled on Tuesday in a massive win for supporters of the first-in-the-nation system that has faced constitutional scrutiny and run a political gauntlet in the Legislature. The decision from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court allows Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to continue implementing the system for gubernatorial and congressional primaries just before his office needs to finalize state ballots for printing to go to overseas voters later this month. Implementation of the law lurched into limbo after the court advised last year that the system was partially unconstitutional as it pertains to general elections in state races. Primaries and congressional elections weren’t addressed in that advisory opinion.

Full Article: Maine’s top court clears way for ranked-choice voting in June — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

Maine: Ranked-choice vote likely headed for legal challenges | Portland Press Herald

A comment during Maine supreme court arguments on ranked-choice voting offers a window into where many fear that things are headed – more legal challenges. Justice Donald Alexander questioned whether the system that lets voters rank candidates could violate the “one man, one vote” principle. His colleagues suggested that’s an argument for later. The court is currently considering other constitutional questions. But his suggestion underscores critics’ worries that more lawsuits will be filed if the voting system is used in the June 12 primaries.

Full Article: Ranked-choice vote likely headed for legal challenges - Portland Press Herald.

Maine: Skeptical high court hears arguments on blocking ranked-choice voting in Maine primaries | Portland Press Herald

Maine’s highest court is likely to rule quickly on legal questions around the state’s first-in-the-nation, ranked-choice voting law after a hearing Thursday marked by the justices’ pointed and skeptical questioning of attorneys involved in the case. The case, which involves the Maine Senate, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting that backed the law approved by voters in November 2016, is meant to settle whether the system can be used in the June 12 primaries. Justices grilled attorneys for the three parties during the 50-minute hearing at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland, leveling their focus on Tim Woodcock, the lawyer representing the Republican-controlled Senate.

Full Article: Skeptical high court hears arguments on blocking ranked-choice voting in Maine primaries - Portland Press Herald.

Maine: Justices ponder 11th-hour ranked-choice voting query | Associated Press

With the clock ticking, state supreme court justices hastily convened attorneys Thursday to consider whether the secretary of state’s implementation of ranked-choice voting for the June primaries without funding by state lawmakers violates the Maine Constitution. An attorney for the Maine Senate warned that the Separation of Powers is a “fundamental touchstone of our liberty” while the attorney general’s office countered that state election officials always have had broad authority when it comes to elections.

Full Article: Maine justices ponder 11th-hour ranked-choice voting query | News | heraldcourier.com.

Maine: Maine’s Fitful Experiment With a New Way of Voting | The Atlantic

In two months, Maine voters will go to the polls to select their nominees to succeed the state’s pugnacious two-term Republican governor, Paul LePage. Whether all of the candidates accept the results of those party primaries, however, remains a surprisingly open question. The June 12 balloting will be the first statewide elections in the nation to use ranked-choice voting, a system Maine voters approved in a 2016 referendum designed to ensure that winners secure a majority—and not merely a plurality—of the vote. But a series of legal challenges and disputes in the state legislature over its implementation have clouded the upcoming primaries in uncertainty, and debate over the format has cleaved along partisan lines. Even as they campaign for support under ranked-choice voting, Republicans are calling for the state’s highest court to toss the new system at the last minute and order the June primaries to be held under traditional rules.

Full Article: Maine Set to Debut Ranked-Choice Voting Over GOP Criticism - The Atlantic.

Maine: Legislative fix on ranked-choice voting falters in Senate, leaving fate up to the courts | Portland Press Herald

A last-minute attempt by Maine lawmakers to resolve some of the issues surrounding ranked-choice voting failed Thursday, leaving it up to the courts to decide the fate of the first-in-the-nation system. A 17-17 vote on a joint order in the Maine Senate scuttled attempts by Democrats to resolve concerns that Republicans had raised about the ballot-box law adopted in a statewide referendum with 52 percent of the vote in 2016. The joint order would have triggered a new bill to clarify that Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is authorized to expend the funds necessary to conduct a ranked-choice primary. The bill also would have authorized Maine State Police, at Dunlap’s direction, to retrieve ballots as needed and return them to Augusta for a centralized tabulation by Dunlap – an additional step to determine winners in a ranked-choice vote.

Full Article: Legislative fix on ranked-choice voting falters in Senate, leaving fate up to the courts - Portland Press Herald.

Maine: Judge orders state to use ranked-choice voting for June primaries, but that’s not the end | Portland Press Herald

A judge ordered Maine’s secretary of state Wednesday to move forward with implementing ranked-choice voting for the June primaries despite concerns about conflicting language in state law. Later in the day, the same judge also heard arguments in a separate Maine Senate challenge that could end with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court making the final decision about whether Maine will be the first state in the nation to use ranked-choice voting statewide this June. In a 14-page opinion released Wednesday morning, Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy ordered Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to continue preparing to use ranked-choice voting for gubernatorial, congressional and legislative primaries on June 12. Murphy agreed with the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting – the group that led the successful November 2016 ballot campaign – that uncertainty over the election process could cause “irreparable harm” at this stage.

Full Article: Judge orders state to use ranked-choice voting for June primaries, but that's not the end - Portland Press Herald.

Maine: Senate steps into ranked choice voting controversy | News Center Maine

The Maine Senate voted Monday night to attempt to insert itself into the current debate over ranked choice voting (RCV). A superior court judge is considering a request from RCV supporters for an injunction to force the secretary of State to use ranked choice in the June 12 primary elections. The judge held a hearing on the request Friday, and promised to rule promptly. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 21-13 Monday to authorize the Senate president to take legal action if needed. Thibodeau spoke on the Senate floor and later said in a written statement, “If we don’t get this matter settled, we are headed for chaos in our election system, and that is a huge disservice to the people of Maine.”

Full Article: newscentermaine.com | Senate steps into ranked choice voting controversy.