The crowded and chaotic Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts that is now being recounted has fueled calls from election reform advocates for the state to adopt a system allowing voters to rank candidates on the ballot rather than select just a single one. Ten candidates were vying for their party’s nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. The top two vote-getters in the Sept. 4 primary, Lori Trahan and Dan Koh, wound up separated by only a few dozen votes after the initial count. The recount sought by Koh in the 37 cities and towns of the 3rd Congressional District is slated to conclude Monday. Regardless of the outcome, the winner will have done so with just slightly more than 20 percent of the total Democratic votes cast in the race — a result that some see as troubling if not outright undemocratic.
ranked choice voting
Maine: LePage veto of extra election funding stands as Legislature finally adjourns for 2018 | Portland Press Herald
he Maine Legislature adjourned for the year Thursday nearly five months late, but not before Republican Gov. Paul LePage scored one more veto victory and also persuaded lawmakers to pass a bill aimed at protecting the elderly from home foreclosure when they fall behind on their local property tax bills. For a number of lawmakers it was not only the end of a marathon lawmaking year, but also likely marked their last day in the Legislature because they have served four consecutive terms and are prohibited by term limit laws from seeking re-election. Outgoing Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, one of those termed out of office, offered farewell remarks to his colleagues and some advice for the next Senate and the next Maine Legislature, which will be elected in November.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.