The Maine Republican Party filed a complaint against Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Friday, asking the court to find ranked choice voting unconstitutional on the grounds that it is their right to decide how many of their primary voters actually matter.
It is yet another development in the ongoing efforts by the political establishment to defy the election reform before the June 12 primary.
In short, the Republican Party in Maine implemented a rule that says party nominees will be selected by a simple plurality system, which is in direct conflict with the state’s new ranked choice voting rules.
This is the extremist element of one party once again trying to defy the law and the will of the people of Maine.Cara McCormick, Treasurer for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting
They then filed a lawsuit using the same argument the Democratic Party has relied on in previous court cases for years — their associational rights as a private organization.
But, in this case, the Maine GOP’s argument so that it can invoke its associational rights is quite telling:
“While the plurality system under the Maine Constitution mandates that “a candidate who receives a plurality of the votes would be declared the winner of that election,” the RCV “Act, in contrast, would not declare the plurality candidate the winner of the election, but would require continued tabulation until a majority is achieved .” – Maine Republican Party v. Dunlap, pg. 4
They, seriously, are arguing that ranked choice voting requires a majority to be reached before a candidate is nominated. But, it’s their First Amendment right to nominate candidates with just a plurality (i.e. a minority).
“This is the extremist element of one party once again trying to defy the law and the will of the people of Maine,” says Cara McCormick, treasurer for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.
“They changed their rule this morning so they could file a lawsuit this afternoon to try and take away the people’s right to choose the way we elect our leaders. This is precisely why we need ranked choice voting in the first place – to fix a broken system.”
I might need to do some more research, but this could be the first time in history an organization, political or not, is going to the court to argue for their right to be controlled by a minority of their members.
Check out the complaint for yourself: