Judge Orders Maine Sec. of State to Implement Ranked Choice Voting

Judge Orders Maine Sec. of State to Implement Ranked Choice Voting

Created: 04 April, 2018
Last update: 18 October, 2022

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy ordered Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to implement ranked choice voting for the June primary elections Wednesday, not long after Dunlap reportedly told lawmakers he had no intention of doing so.

Maine voters successfully acted against the legislature's attempt to delay and repeal ranked choice voting by getting a people's veto on the June primary ballot. This means ranked choice voting would be used in statewide primary elections while Mainers also vote on repealing a law passed by state lawmakers that would kill the voting reform.

There was significant doubt whether or not Dunlap -- who has opposed ranked choice voting -- would honor the will of voters, especially after he reportedly told the Democratic Caucus in Maine that he would not be implementing it for the primary.

The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting requested a court-ordered injunction to force RCV's implementation. RCV advocates along with eight candidates for Governor, Congress, and the Maine Legislature, argued that confusion over what voting method would be used would cause "irreparable harm" to the election process.

Justice Murphy agreed.

“The uncertainty that halting the ranked-choice voting implementation process at this late date is significant. Clarity, stability and public confidence are essential to ensure the legitimacy of Maine elections,” writes Murphy.

State lawmakers continue to fight the implementation of ranked choice voting as another complaint was filed Wednesday to stop the will of Maine voters. However, as a result of Murphy's order, Maine will officially be the first state in the nation to use ranked choice voting for statewide elections.

Read the full 14-page opinion below:

Photo Credit: ESB Professional / shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Shawn M Griffiths

Shawn is the Election Reform Editor for IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas, and joined the IVN team in 2012. He has several years of experience covering the broad scope of political and election reform efforts across the country, and has an extensive knowledge of the movement at large. A native Texan, he now lives in San Diego, California.