Maine to Become First State to Implement Ranked Choice Voting in Statewide Election

By  | 

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine is set to become the first state in the country to implement ranked choice voting in a statewide election.

This June, voters will rank candidates from first to last in a system that supporters say will ensure a winner gets the majority of the vote.

Voters approved of the system in 2016.

Following questions of constitutionality, lawmakers voted to delay implementing ranked choice voting for three years.

Some wanted to repeal it, others wanted to amend the constitution to allow it- but neither had the votes to do so.

A people's veto campaign got enough signatures to qualify the system for the June ballot.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says voters will decide the future of the new voting method itself this June.

If the people's veto is sustained, ranked choice voting will be used in federal elections in November.

"I think the ballot itself will be easy to understand, and what we're going to then do is provide them with the information they need to understand what we're doing. So in terms of understanding how the rankings work, we're going to have that information available to people. But we really are going to focus on getting the information out about what to expect. When do you expect to see a result? You're probably not going to see it on 8:05 on Tuesday night of the primary. But you might see it by 9p.m. on Wednesday. And if we think we can do that, we'll announce that," said Dunlap.

If approved, ranked choice voting could be used in federal and primary elections, but not legislative or gubernatorial races to avoid conflicts with Maine's Constitution..