Posted by Samuel Rowe on June 13, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Advocates for ranked choice voting (RCV) scored a huge victory in Maine yesterday, as Question 1 – the referendum to protect RCV for statewide voting – appears to have been approved by voters. At this writing, with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting, the Yes votes are in the lead, 54% - 46%.
We think a big reason for the win on Question 1 was the fact that all partisan primary voters had a chance to vote with RCV races for governor before voting on the referendum question itself. People like having more choice at the ballot box, and time and again we see that voters find RCV easy.
Turnout in Maine was higher than expected, just as we saw last week in San Francisco, last March in Santa Fe, and in the previous four RCV elections held in the last year.
RCV is having a real impact as well, with both major parties having crowded statewide primaries and the Democratic contest for governor now doing a RCV tally on Monday after no candidate earned even 35% of the vote.
RCV will be used for future primary elections and upcoming congressional elections, including three-way contest for United States House, and Senate in November.
This election victory is the result of an enormous effort by a wide variety of electoral reform activists. We thank and congratulate Dick Woodbury, Cara McCormick, Kyle Bailey and all of the members and volunteers of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting. Without their heroic efforts at advocacy, signature gathering and activism, this victory would not have been possible.
Jill Ward and all her colleagues at the League of Women Voters of Maine are equally deserving of praise and thanks for their work in voter education and working with civic allies like Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. The Portland Press Herald deserves a shout out for its strong editorial support for the measure, along with Maine’s diligent press corps.
Our thanks also to Jeanne Massey from FairVote Minnesota and Adam Friedman from Voter Choice Massachusetts and all of their colleagues for their volunteer work on the Yes on 1 campaign. Other key national allies include Represent.Us (who brought resources, volunteers and - ! - Jennifer Lawrence to the table) and the Independent Voter Network.
Our hats are also off to former state senator and candidate for governor Diane Russell, who has been a tireless advocate for RCV in Maine for many years. Thanks also to Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Maine election officials who despite many delays, oversaw the implementation of the state’s first use of RCV to seemingly great success.
We’d also like to thank the foundations and individuals who provided the financial support that made yesterday such a success.
For us, this victory is further proof that we can make our democracy stronger for all Americans with ranked choice voting.
We look forward to more victories in 2018!
President and CEO, FairVote