Voices & Choices

Governor’s race shows why Maine needs to go full ranked choice voting

Governor’s race shows why Maine needs to go full ranked choice voting

Maine’s rollout of ranked choice voting in its June primaries saw widespread success, Gone were talk of spoilers and vote splitting, and fears of a candidate winning with less than 50 percent of the vote erased.

The same can’t be said for the general gubernatorial election, however, which will use the traditional plurality voting method rather than RCV. With four candidates vying for the state’s top post, the notion of spoilers and vote splitting has re-entered the state’s political bloodstream with a vengeance.

As John Palmer writes in his latest piece for the Independent Voter Network, ranked choice voting would solve concerns. Unfortunately, that can’t happen, since RCV opponents found an antiquated clause in the state constitution (stating that state lawmakers must receive a “plurality” of votes) to prop up their argument.

While Maine voters successfully reversed a move to repeal ranked choice voting under the “people’s veto” on the ballot in June, the continuance of RCV will only apply to federal offices come November.

On the issue of state offices, party leaders continue to “hide behind a constitutional technicality that they could easily correct,” according to Palmer.

This strategy is particularly ironic given that Maine Republican Party leading opposition actually uses what is essentially ranked choice voting to choose its state committee officers.

We agree with Palmer: let’s hold lawmakers accountable for the voting method reform their constituents have already supported - twice.

Read Palmer’s article here.

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