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Ranked-Choice Voting Amendment Fails In House

A proposed constitutional amendment to correct concerns with ranked-choice voting has fallen well short of the two-thirds vote needed in the House to send it to the voters. Supporters fear that may mean repeal of the original voter-approved initiative passed last fall.

The initiative would implement ranked-choice voting for all Maine elections, but the State Supreme Court advised the legislature that part of it was unconstitutional.

A proposed amendment to address those concerns received a vote in the House of 78-68, well short of the two-thirds margin of support needed to send it out to voters. That leaves a law in place that only applies to primary elections and the federal election.

Rep. Janice Cooper, a Democrat from Yarmouth, urged passage of a constitutional amendment that would fix the problem and allow ranked-choice voting to apply to all elections.

“This resolution will give the people of Maine the opportunity to fully implement the referendum they adopted just last November,” Cooper said.

Elections officials and lawmakers in both parties fear that without a fix, the law voters passed last November will be repealed.

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