Voices & Choices

‘People’s Veto’ Signature Drive Results in Major Ranked Choice Voting Elections in Maine

‘People’s Veto’ Signature Drive Results in Major Ranked Choice Voting Elections in Maine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 2, 2018

Contact: Rich Robinson, rrobinson@fairvote.org or 301-270-4616

A Statement from FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie

 

Takoma Park, Md. – With the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting’s remarkable success in collecting signatures to force a ‘People’s Veto’ referendum on last October’s law delaying implementation of ranked choice voting (RCV), this innovative system will be used for all Maine’s June 12, 2018 primaries for state and federal offices.

Voters initially approved ranked choice voting (RCV) for all state and federal elections in November 2016, with the second highest vote total in Maine initiative history. The referendum would restore RCV for uses deemed unquestionably legal: U.S. Senate and U.S. elections in November and all state and congressional primaries in June. It also restores the 2016 RCV law until the referendum occurs.

Maine as a result will become the first state in the modern era to use ranked choice voting to nominate candidates in primary elections for U.S. Senate, U.S House, governor and state legislature. On the top of the primary ballot will be highly competitive, crowded primaries for the Democratic and Republican nominations for governor where RCV will have an immediate impact. Maine joins more than a dozen American cities that are using RCV and generating more participation, civic engagement and substantive, civil campaigns.

FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform organization chaired by musician Krist Novoselic, has long been the nation’s leading advocate of ranked choice voting as a means to ensure voters have a greater voice at the ballot box, and more fair representation in government. Rob Richie, FairVote’s executive director today released this statement:

“On this day we celebrate a victory for democracy. In a remarkable effort driven by volunteers going out on wintry streets to collect signatures from their fellow Mainers, they have ensured that Maine voters will use ranked choice voting in June and be able to permanently reverse the legislature’s efforts to undo popular will and earn better choices, fairer representation, and more meaningful elections.

“The politicians who have sought to reverse the voters in Maine include a governor who won his first gubernatorial primary and general elections with less than 40 percent of the vote, and three legislative leaders who, without, RCV, could also win their primary for governor with less than majority support. But citizens know that better elections -- and better democracy -- come only when every vote counts and leaders represent all of us, not just party bases and the extremes.

“We congratulate the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting on its admirable job protecting democracy for the people of Maine. We expect the League of Women Voters of Maine and other civic groups to do a terrific job introducing ranked choice voting to voters. We have high hopes that Maine’s secretary of state and election clerks will embrace and overcome the very real challenges of running a ranked choice voting election for the first time. In return the nation will have a lesson in how ranked choice voting will  help fix our broken politics.”

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