The League of Women Voters of Maine issued statements objecting to the Maine GOP’s announcement that it would file suit to block ranked choice voting (RCV) in the Republican primary election to be held on June 12.
“A primary election is not a private matter. It is a public election deciding who will be on the ballot in November,” said John Brautigam, legal counsel for LWVME. Brautigam continued, “The parties are free to stake out policy positions their members may desire, but they are not free to decide how to conduct elections. The state has a strong interest in ensuring that primary elections follow state norms and values. The court case should be dismissed.”
The League believes that the state has a strong interest in the integrity, consistency, and democratic function of elections – even party primaries. Overseas voters have already begun to vote. It is groundless and irresponsible to wait until beyond the last minute to file suit to change the primary system. Since the Maine GOP only today adopted “simple plurality” as the party’s “official” nomination rule, which they then use in their complaint to claim that RCV violates their party rules, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the late adoption of this rule merely opened another chapter in a continuing campaign of disruption and opposition to RCV.
League President Jill Ward added, “The people of Maine have spoken, and RCV is the law of Maine. It is now time to put a stop to the never-ending attacks on ranked choice voting. The prolonged assault on the will of the voters started with legitimate disagreements, but it is beginning to look like an intentional effort to disrupt the election just weeks away. Having lost on numerous other occasions, opponents of ranked choice voting are now attempting to disrupt our democracy and our elections over a decision made by the voters and repeatedly reaffirmed. These tactics do not serve the public interest.”
Ironically, they may not even serve the interests of Republicans. The result of this lawsuit could increase divisiveness and cause the Republican Party to nominate candidates who have less statewide support. By asking a judge to block ranked choice voting in the Republican primary, the Republicans’ lawsuit is asking the court to curtail voter’s choice.