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Senate President Seeks Opinion on Whether Ranked-Choice Voting is Constitutional

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau has written Attorney General Janet Mills asking her opinion on whether the citizen initiative before the Legislature that would establish ranked choice voting in the state is constitutional.

“If the Attorney General were to come back with her opinion being that it is in violation of the constitution, that may be the next logical step, reaching out to the Supreme Court.” Thibodeau says.

He says there is a provision in the state constitution that says the governor can be elected by a simple plurality of voters. He says it appears the petition effort is seeking to change the constitution, and you can’t change the constitution by simply changing a law.

“I think that it is important that we get the legal opinion from the attorney general, Maine’s lawyer, as to whether or not their office believes this is a violation of the constitution or not so we can make good decision as to how to move forward,” Thibodeau says.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.