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Angus King Says Voters Should Have a Say in Fate of Ranked-Choice Voting

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine Tuesday urged lawmakers send the question of ranked-choice voting back to the voters for a final decision.

King, a two-term governor, says he is very worried lawmakers may repeal the law voters passed at referendum last fall because part of the law is unconstitutional.

He says voters sent a signal with their vote last fall, and they should be given the opportunity to pass a constitutional amendment to allow ranked-choice voting in state elections.

“My fundamental concern is not making worse this kind of distrust of government and politics and politicians,” King says. “To simply say well there is a constitutional problem with this so we are just going to forget it, I think they ought — my inclination would be to give the people a chance to make that decision themselves.”

Lawmakers are considering an amendment to do just that, but it will take two-thirds vote of the Legislature to send the question to the voters, and getting those votes is uncertain. It would only take a simple majority to repeal the law in its entirety.

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