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Politics

Senate Republicans Want Supreme Court Opinion on Ranked-Choice Voting

Senate Republican leaders in Maine are drafting a letter to the State Supreme Court asking for an opinion on the constitutionality of the ranked-choice voting measure Maine voters approved in November.

Endorsed by 52 percent of Maine voters, ranked-choice allows voters to rank their preferences for governor, Congress and the Legislature. But there are members of both parties who question whether that process is constitutional.

Senate Republican Leader Garret Mason of Lisbon Falls hopes the court will settle the issue.

“Ranked choice voting is, according to many people, is unconstitutional. So whether the people passed it, or the Legislature passed it, it’s unconstitutional. You can’t do it,” he says.

Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash voted for the measure but he agrees that getting the court to weigh in would be a wise move.

“I voted for it, but at the same time, you know, we can’t have something that is deemed unconstitutional,” he says. “So having them answer that question once and for all is always a good thing.”

It will take a majority vote of the Senate to pose the question, which the justices will then have to decide whether to answer.