Big turnouts for ranked choice voting legislative hearings in Maine and Massachusetts

Posted by Rob Richie on October 20, 2017

Americans are hungry for a new politics with better choices, less toxicity and more substance. This month, Maine and Massachusetts showed the growing wave of activism for ranked choice voting as a lynchpin component of what we need for a better politics.

Maine voters last year approved ranked choice voting with more than 52 percent of the vote and the second highest vote total of any initiative in state history. As passed, ranked choice voting would be used in 2018 for every state and federal office, including primary and general elections for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state legislature.

 On Monday, the legislature held a hearing to consider options for 2018. Some legislators want to flat out reject voters and either repeal RCV or delay implementation. Others want to limit RCV to certain offices while  legal and election administration issues are worked out. Scores of Mainers showed up to testify -- nearly all backing implementation of RCV.

Located in a city already using RCV effectively for mayor, the state’s largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, wrote an editorial urging Maine to move forward. A special session next week may provide more clarity.

Meanwhile, on October 12th in Boston, the remarkable volunteer-run group Voter Choice Massachusetts led a team of more than 50 RCV backers to testify in favor of bills to adopt RCV and establish it as a local option. FairVote Action was among those providing written testimony as well.

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