Primary Elections in Maine

July 2020 Primary Elections

On July 14, 2020, Maine held its second cycle of state and federal primary elections using ranked choice voting. Voters used the ranked ballot in all contests featuring three or more candidates, which was true in nine contests total:

Despite the ongoing complications caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Maine administrators put out election results in a timely and transparent manner. Preliminary first choice results were available on election night; the round-by-round counts announced through Facebook Live a week later, on July 21, 2020; then, on August 3 it was discovered that the wrong results had been announced, and so the new, corrected results were announced that evening. Every step, including the retabulation of corrected results, occurred before the Maine Secretary of State had announced the results in Maine's non-RCV contests.

The Democratic Senate primary was won by a majority in the first round, making the highest profile RCV election the Republican primary in the second congressional district. FairVote had released analysis of a poll of Republican primary voters in the district on July 8 that showed that Dale Crafts would likely lead in the first round and win with a majority after an instant runoff. When first round results were announced on July 14, it quickly became clear that the poll had accurately predicted the first choices of these voters. The full round-by-round results demonstrated that the poll had also accurately gauged second-choice support, with Crafts winning by nearly the exact margin predicted by the poll.

Turnout in the CD-2 Republican primary was up compared to prior comparable elections in the district. Nearly two out of three voters ranked multiple candidates, with 54% ranking all three candidates in the field. As a result, over 92% of votes stayed active throughout the count. As in prior RCV races in Maine, error rates were very low. In the CD-2 primary, only 235 ballots were invalidated due to first round overvotes, meaning 99.5% of votes counted as cast.

In addition to the CD-2 race mentioned above, four other RCV races required multiple rounds to determine a majority winner: the Democratic primaries for state senate district 11 and state house districts 41, 47, and 49. In each case, over 80% of voters used multiple rankings.

June 2018 Primary Elections

Maine_Dem_Gov.PNGOn June 12, 2018, Maine conducted primary elections for Governor, state legislature, U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate by ranked choice voting.

Both the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor were hotly contested, with seven Democrats and four Republicans seeking the office. Three candidates sought the Democratic nomination for the Second Congressional District. Janet Mills won the Democratic nomination for governor and Jared Golden won the Democratic nomination for the Second Congressional District after the RCV count. The Republican nomination for governor was won by Shawn Moody with 56% in the first round. Full results are below.

At the same election, Maine voters decided on Question 1, which would determine whether Maine would continue to use ranked choice voting in the November general elections and in all future primary elections. More voters participated in the vote on Question 1 than voted in the Democratic and Republican primaries combined. Question 1 passed with over 54% voting in favor.

The Maine League of Women Voters, in partnership with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, provided voter education resources for the elections at The results of the election demonstrated the success of their efforts, and the benefits of ranked choice voting for a healthy democratic environment:

Here are two ways of visualizing the full results for the Democratic gubernatorial primary election:

infogram_0_5c5dbac1-a293-4165-acc5-2eb451d0e412Maine Press Release Democratic Gubernatorial Primary


Here are two ways of visualizing the full results for the Democratic primary election for the Second Congressional District:

infogram_0_596e8189-f70f-4da2-9097-60f9c618e5deMaine Press Release Democratic Dist 2 w/ Fulford


Join Us Today to Help Create a More Perfect Union