Voices & Choices

Judge denies attempt at blocking Maine ranked choice voting election

Judge denies attempt at blocking Maine ranked choice voting election

A federal judge disallowed a GOP request for an injunction that would bar the state from using ranked choice voting (RCV) in the Republican Party’s primary on June 12. After its state convention in May the party filed suit, claiming that RCV violated its First Amendment rights of freedom to associate.

The party argued that RCV might result in a different candidate being selected than if the nominee were chosen in a plurality vote. In an RCV election, the winning candidate earns 50 percent of the vote plus one, a majority of ballots cast.

The party attempted use the presidential nomination of Abraham Lincoln in as an argument support its cause – an ironic turn, because the Republican National Convention of 1860 did not select its nominee by plurality. The party could appeal the decision, but with the election only two weeks away, it would require an emergency appeal to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Next month’s historic primaries will be the first time that ranked choice voting will be used in the U.S. to decide a statewide race (governor and other offices), as well as choosing candidates for Congress.

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