ranked-choice voting

Maine Public

The ranked-choice voting system is forcing candidates to think about how they are campaigning, and it will also make voters think twice about their choice. But perhaps no group has more to think about than municipal clerks, the people who will conduct next week's vote.

Whether you touch a screen, fill in an oval or put an X in a box, the way you vote changes next week. And that means changes for people like Sandra Fournier. "It's very stressful,” she says.

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Next week, Maine voters will decide whether to continue to use ranked-choice voting in future elections. In anticipation of this decision, two very different campaigns are underway, each attempting to shape public opinion in advance of the election.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting are behind hundreds of thousands of dollars of broadcast advertisements urging Mainers to keep the system they will use for the first time next week, including on featuring actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Maine independent U.S. Sen. Angus King says he will vote to keep ranked-choice voting in next week’s referendum vote.

“A high number of voters said this is something they want," King says, "and I don’t like the idea that we essentially voided what the voters said.”

King says he was reluctant to publicly comment on the ranked-choice voting referendum because some will say he is doing so to benefit his re-election campaign.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

A week from Tuesday, Mainer primary voters will participate in a historic democratic experiment: They'll be the first voters in the country to use ranked-choice voting in a statewide election.

A federal judge has denied a request by the Maine Republican Party to block the use of ranked-choice voting in its June 12 primary election.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Jon Levy means that all voters registered with one of the state-recognized political parties will use the new ranked-choice system in June.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says election officials are not shocked by Levy’s decision.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Maine's Department of the Secretary of State

A federal judge will hear arguments Wednesday in yet another case involving Maine’s landmark ranked-choice voting law.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Maine voters in next month’s state primary will be the first to use ranked-choice voting for state elections. Election experts say many voters don’t understand how the system works, but they’re hopeful voter education programs now running can help clear up any confusion.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is going to host a series of informational meetings on the new voting system that will be used for the first time in June primaries.

Dunlap will hold four sessions starting on Monday in Biddeford. Then meetings will follow on May 15 in Bangor, May 21 in Presque Isle and May 29 in Lewiston.

He will also offer a question-and-answer session via Facebook Live on May 24.

Joel Page / AP Photo

Maine Republicans have filed another legal challenge targeting ranked-choice voting, the new tabulation system that is to be used in the June primary election.

The Maine Supreme Court has appeared to clear the way for a first of its kind election. The court Tuesday removed the final roadblock to implementing ranked-choice voting for the June primaries. Ranked-choice advocates say the court's opinion will preempt the kind of legal challenges that have followed the law ever since voters enacted it nearly two years ago. But others warn that additional litigation looms.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court held oral arguments Thursday in a rare case that could determine whether Maine's ranked-choice voting system will be used in the June primary. The expedited hearing was in response to a request by Maine Senate Republicans that the court halt state implementation of the new voting system. But during a 35-minute hearing, nearly all seven justices appeared skeptical of the Republicans' arguments, and some wondered why the court was asked to solve a problem that Legislature wouldn't, or couldn't.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

There’s a new development in the saga over Maine’s landmark ranked-choice voting law: Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy is recommending that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court review whether state election officials have the authority to implement the voting system for the June primary elections.

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It was a chaotic week for those attempting to follow developments of Maine's ranked-choice voting law. And it's still unclear how all of this is going to shake out.

Political correspondent Steve Mistler joined Nora Flaherty on Maine Things Considered to get us up to date and tell us how we got here.

A proposal designed to remedy Republican objections to implementing Maine's landmark ranked-choice voting law has died after a tie vote in the Maine Senate.

The Republican-led Senate is currently suing the secretary of state because it says it doesn't have the authority, or the funding, to set up the system for the June primary elections.

During Thursday's floor debate, Republican Sen. Roger Katz, of Augusta, said the legal complaint raises constitutional issues that could be headed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

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