Maine To Use Ranked Choice Voting In 2020 Presidential Election

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In a first, Maine will use ranked choice voting for the upcoming presidential election.

Ranked choice voting will be used for the first time in a U.S. presidential race after the Maine Supreme Court ruled that Republicans did not secure enough signatures to thwart the move, according to The Associated Press.

The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the Maine Republican Party failed to reach the threshold of signatures needed for a "People’s Veto" referendum aimed at rejecting a state law that expands ranked choice voting to the presidential election.

  • Despite gathering tens of thousands of signatures, the GOP failed to capture the necessary 67,067 after some signatures were invalidated.
  • “The fast-paced, 11th-hour legal machinations followed the secretary of state’s rejection of the referendum," the AP reported. "The Maine GOP appealed that decision and a state judge reinstated enough signatures to surpass the minimum by 22 signatures.”
  • The matter went to the state’s Supreme Court after another appeal, and the court’s decision came down just six weeks ahead of the election.
  • With ranked choice voting, voters may rank all presidential candidates on the ballot, which in this case is five.

If no one wins a majority of first-place votes, then there are additional tabulations, aided by computers, in which last-place finishers are eliminated and votes reallocated based on those supporters’ second-place choices.

  • Supporters of the voting method say it does away with the impact of “spoiler candidates” and leads to a majority winner.

The constitutionality of the voting system has been twice upheld by a federal judge in Maine. But ranked voting is not used in the governor’s race or legislative contests because it runs afoul of the Maine Constitution.

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