It's been a rough and uncertain road for ranked choice voting in Maine. It was the first statewide ranked choice initiative in the nation to get approval from voters, was made law in 2017, survived repeal attempts in the regular legislative session, but then was delayed and set for repeal in 2021 during a special session.
But the people of Maine fought back against state politicians, and successfully gathered enough petition signatures to put the people's veto of an “An Act to Implement Ranked-choice Voting in 2021” on the June 12 primary ballot. Because the petition campaign was successful, ranked choice voting will be used in the Republican and Democratic primaries for all state and federal elections.
The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting submitted 77,305 signatures in support of the people's veto. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's office announced Monday that 66,687 of those signatures were valid. The campaign needed at least 61,123 valid signatures.
"The people of Maine want a system that works for us, for our children, and our grandchildren. Together, we stood up to the politicians who wanted to take away our right to choose the way we elect our leaders," said Committee for Ranked Choice Voting Treasurer Cara Brown McCormick, in an interview for IVN.
She added, "The campaign is grateful to the thousands of volunteers who braved sub-zero temperatures. They are the heroes today."
The win is historic for a couple of reasons:
(1) For the first time in US history, ranked choice voting will be on the primary ballot for governor, both chambers of a state legislature, US House, and US Senate.
(2) It is the firs time the people of Maine have successfully pushed a people's veto against the actions of the state legislature.
Along with using ranked choice voting for the first time on June 12, voters will have an opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" on the people's veto.
If a majority of voters say "yes," ranked choice voting will be used in the general election for US House and US Senate, and “An Act to Implement Ranked-choice Voting in 2021” will officially be repealed. Current state constitutional restrictions prevent ranked choice voting from being used in general elections for governor, State House, and State Senate.
Stay tuned for further developments on this story.