Maine’s Supreme Court decided to uphold the use of rank-choice voting, which will be used in the upcoming primary elections. A majority of residents in the state have sent a clear message that they want election reform and the court heeded the demands of the people.
“The court has been clear in their ruling that ranked-choice voting is the law of the land,” Sara Gideon, State House Speaker, said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald.
In rank-choice voting, voters have the power to rank candidates in order of preference. Then, after the first count, if no candidate has the majority vote, the least popular candidate is eliminated. Next the voter’s ballots are added up with the second-ranked candidate and a recount is done. Again, the least popular candidate is eliminated and the recount continues until one candidate has the majority vote, Common Dreams reported.
Fifty-two percent of voters in Maine voted in support of the rank-choice system in a November 2016 ballot initiative, Common Dreams reported, but its implementation was stalled until December 2021 by state lawmakers stating they needed clear direction from legislature before the system could be put in place.
“The Maine legislature has changed or repealed all four of the initiatives passed by Maine voters in 2016,” Kyle Bailey from the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting said in a statement on Tuesday. “Today’s decision by the Maine Supreme Court confirms that the Maine people are sovereign and have the final say.”
Maine’s June 12 primary election “will now make history as the first state election to use ranked-choice voting,” Common Dreams reported. And many system supports believe it will increase voter turnout and proportional representation.