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New Voting Methods

Maine Supreme Court Says No Referendum on Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential Elections Will Appear on 2020 Ballot

The path to expand ranked choice voting (RCV) in Maine has been an ongoing rollercoaster ride of successes followed by setbacks followed by more successes for reformers. However, RCV advocates can celebrate once again after the Maine Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling Tuesday which clarifies that (for now) no referendum on RCV for presidential elections will appeal on the November ballot.

The absence of a referendum also means that ranked choice voting is once again set to be used for the first time in a presidential general election.

“Mainers already fought for their right to ranked choice voting twice,” said Anna Kellar, executive director for The League of Women Voters of Maine. “We’re grateful that, at least for now, Mainers will be able to rank candidates this fall, from the State House to the President of the United States.”

The ruling (at least for now) reverses a lower court's decision that allowed several signatures for the Maine GOP's campaign to stop RCV for presidential elections to stand after they were invalidated by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. Dunlap soon after appealed the decision on an emergency basis as ballots would need to soon be printed for overseas and military voters.

It is important to note that the people's veto campaign to kill RCV for presidential elections only affected that race on the ballot. Now, as it stands, Maine voters will use RCV in all federal elections, including congressional and US Senate.

“Mainers have led a groundswell of support across the country for ranked choice voting,” said FairVote CEO and President Rob Richie. FairVote is the nation's leading RCV advocate group. “Voters deserve a meaningful choice at the polls, and Mainers are going to model for the rest of the United States what that looks like in action in our nation’s most high-profile election: the presidency.”

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About the Author

Shawn Griffiths

Shawn is an election reform expert an editor of IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012.

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