The fate of ranked choice voting in Maine will soon be decided. The State Senate could vote as early as Friday on bills that call for full repeal or a constitutional amendment that would bring ranked choice voting in full compliance with the state constitution.
Supporters are pushing for a middle-of-the-road approach that asks the legislature to move forward with ranked choice voting in primary and federal elections, where there is no constitutional conflict, and then amend the constitution for state general elections (30% of elections under ranked choice voting).
“I think the more lawmakers focus on this [approach], the more they are going to see the merits of moving forward in that direction,” said Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for Yes on 5 (RCV Maine).
RCV Maine has generated over 1,000 calls, emails, and conversations with state lawmakers in the last few weeks in support of preserving ranked choice voting, which garnered the second-largest referendum victory in Maine history. Nearly 400,000 voters said yes to ranked choice voting (Question 5) on Election Day in November.
Voters have even taken to Twitter to voice their support for ranked choice voting:
I wholeheartedly support ranked choice voting. We had a vote to implement it here in Maine and the parties are trying to override the vote https://t.co/uw94sjAQ8y
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) June 13, 2017
Defend Ranked Choice Voting. If you're from Maine it's urgent that you click here. https://t.co/jnviA8dfly
— Thomas Peterson (@thomaspeterson9) June 14, 2017
— Owen Schaffer (@OwenSchaffer) June 14, 2017
Candidates outside the two parties benefit, and Maine's voters benefit from greater viable choices.https://t.co/bqmhyEblap
— John E. Palmer (@ElectBetterUSA) June 14, 2017
“We continue to let Maine voters know about the opportunities to contact their state senators and state representatives, to write a letter to the editor, to let their friends on social media know what is happening here and encourage them to join them in taking action against full repeal of ranked choice voting. It is a knee-jerk reaction that disrespects Maine people,” said Bailey.
Voters aren’t the only ones calling on lawmakers to reject full repeal. The biggest newspapers in the state, including its largest, the Portland Press Herald, have pinned editorials telling lawmakers to respect the will of the people. U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) has also said the legislature needs to honor the election results.