Republican bill seeks to repeal ranked choice voting in Maine

Voters approved ranked-choice voting in 2016
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 12:06 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - A public hearing scheduled Wednesday morning will consider a bill that seeks to repeal ranked-choice voting in Maine.

The bill, LD 1038, is sponsored by Rep. Ed Polewarczyk, a Republican from Wiscasset, and all eight co-sponsors are Republicans in the Democratic-controlled Maine State Legislature.

“There are increasing complaints from constituents that the rank choice experiment has failed to deliver on its promises,” said Polewarczyk. “It produces false majorities, frequently exhausts thousands of ballots cast on Election Day, is confusing, and disenfranchises voters who are already unlikely to vote.”

The hearing on Polewarcyck’s and other bills started at 10 a.m. before the Committee of Veterans and Legal Affairs at the State House in Augusta and can be viewed online.

Maine voters approved ranked-choice voting in November 2016 for races for federal office, such as U.S. Congress. It was used for the first time in June 2018.

Since then, several communities in Maine adopted ranked choice for local elections as well.

Rep. Jared Golden has twice been elected in elections where he achieved a majority of votes through ranked choice, in 2018 and 2022, defeating Republican Bruce Poliquin both times.

Ranked-choice has not been used in Maine Governor’s races.

Another Republican bill, to ban the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, is also getting a public hearing on Wednesday. It is part of a slew of GOP-backed “election integrity” bills this session, including imposing voter photo ID requirement, that are opposed by Maine’s Secretary of State.