Posted by Ashley Houghton on September 22, 2020 at 12:37 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jen Lancaster, Communications Manager
League of Women Voters of Maine
Ashley Houghton, Communications Director
League of Women Voters of Maine and FairVote Respond to Court Decision:
Mainers Can Rank Presidential Candidates This November
September 22, 2020 –The League of Women Voters of Maine responded to a ruling by Maine’s top court this morning that the Secretary of State's office was correct in invalidating 988 flawed signatures collected by opponents to ranked choice voting. This decision confirms Maine will be the first state in American history to allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference when electing a president.
“This is a victory for every Mainer who sat around kitchen tables and in basements years ago, wondering how we could ensure more votes would be heard in our elections. It is a victory for the voters who showed up, year after year, affirming ‘yes, this is the reform we want for our state,’” shared Anna Kellar, Executive Director for The League of Women Voters. “We are proud to have been part of this next step in our nation’s history of better elections.”
FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for electoral reform in the United States, added a national perspective.
“This is a powerful moment for ranked choice voting supporters: voters will, for the first time, use ranked choice voting to elect the highest office in the country,” added Rob Richie, President and CEO of FairVote. “America was founded on the promise that your vote matters. We haven't always lived up to that promise, but over time, our nation's citizens strived to ensure that every vote counts. This is a moment of celebration for those who advocated for ranked choice voting in Maine, and also a moment of inspiration for every American who will look to Maine and realize they could bring ranked choice voting to their state.”
In Maine, electoral votes are decided based on the votes cast in each congressional district as well as statewide. Recent polls suggest that the presidential vote in the second congressional districts may result in an instant runoff tabulation to determine that electoral vote; in 2016, Maine was won statewide by Hillary Clinton with less than half the vote.
Implementation of the ranked choice voting law for Maine’s presidential elections also means that Maine will be the first state to build ranked choice voting ballots into all its presidential primaries starting in 2024 In 2020, the Democratic Party used ranked choice voting successfully in five presidential primaries and caucuses, and Republicans used it to nominate candidates for statewide office and Congress in Indiana, Utah and Virginia.
Ranked choice voting saw its first statewide use in Maine in 2018. The number of cities using ranked choice voting has more than doubled since 2010. Five cities used ranked choice voting for the first time in 2019, and New York City adopted it with 74% in favor. This November, it is on the ballot on a record number of ballots: Alaska (which also would enact it for presidential elections) Massachusetts, and five cities.
The League of Women Voters of Maine is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans.