AUBURN, AL- Earlier this month, Maine became the first state to utilize ranked choice voting for a statewide election. Despite opposition from the current governor, the process seems to have gone relatively smoothly.
While businessman Shawn Moody won the Republican gubernatorial primary with 56% of the vote, Democrats needed to wait 8 days while the votes were sent to Augusta to be tabulated due to no candidate receiving a majority on the first ballot. When the process was concluded, AG Janet Mills was declared the winner with 54%.
Similarly, the Democrat nominee for the state’s 2nd congressional district, State Rep. Jared Golden, was also announced later due to the need to count further down the ballot.
Larry Sabato, an election expert, and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said, “states are the laboratories of democracy, and here’s a great experiment for one laboratory. If it works well, others may adopt it. If not, then they won’t.”
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said the process went “so smoothly.”
Additionally, Democrat candidate for governor and ultimate 3rd place finisher Betsy Sweet said the new method “broadened the issues” that were discussed and led to a more positive campaign. She picked up votes as a result and spent the last weeks of the campaign making stops with one of her opponents- with each asking their supporters to pick the other as the #2.
In November, federal seats will be decided in the same way. The Maine Constitution mandates statewide and legislative seats be determined by a plurality, so ranked choice is only applicable in primaries.
Articles on the experiment in Maine can be found here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/maine-ag-janet-mills-wins-in-biggest-test-of-ranked-choice-voting-in-u-s/ and https://www.pressherald.com/2018/06/21/historic-ranked-choice-vote-changed-perceptions-if-not-election-outcomes/.
What do you think? Is ranked-choice voting a positive solution that will strengthen the voice of the voter? Would you want your state to try it? Should this process go national? Join the conversation at: https://www.facebook.com/takebackorg/.