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Maine GOP Submits Petition Signatures To Block Ranked-Choice Voting For Presidential Elections

Robert F. Bukaty
AP Photo
Ballots are prepared to be tabulated for Maine's Second Congressional District's House election Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Augusta.

The Maine Republican Party on Monday submitted more than 68,000 petition signatures to overturn a new law that expands ranked-choice voting to presidential elections.

The Maine GOP’s people veto campaign is the party’s latest effort to undo a voting method that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

The people’s veto only affects the new portion of ranked-choice voting law that governs presidential elections, but Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage says Republicans hope to overturn the entire law that voters first passed in 2016 and later reaffirmed in 2017.

“Today we protect Maine’s presidential elections from ranked-choice voting. But in November we start the process of repealing it all forever,” he says.

Repealing ranked-choice voting in its entirety will require a legislative majority that Republicans currently don’t have, but they hope to win when a new Legislature is chosen by Maine voters in November.

Republicans were rushed in their signature campaign because of restrictions imposed by coronavirus regulations. Maine’s secretary of state now has 30 days to certify whether there are enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. And if it does, that will suspend the use of ranked-choice voting for presidential elections until voters weigh in.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting believe voters are on their side, just as they were in 2016 and 2017.

But views of the voting method have become increasingly polarized, with Democrats largely supporting it, Republicans opposing it and independents mostly split.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.