Independent gubernatorial candidate and Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes released a statement Tuesday condemning the delay and potential repeal of ranked choice voting (RCV) by state lawmakers.
“Maine voters deserve more voice and more choice in our democracy,” said Hayes.
“Ranked-choice voting is a better system that levels the playing field and helps to get big money out of politics. The Maine Legislature had an opportunity vote for Rep. Kent Ackley’s bill that would have upheld the will of the people and brought the voter-approved law into constitutional compliance. Instead, partisan politics got in the way.”
Independent State Rep. Kent Ackley introduced LD 1646, a partial implementation for primary elections and all non-presidential federal elections. RCV would have been delayed for state general elections until the law was brought into full compliance with the state constitution.
This would allow lawmakers to respect the will of voters -- who approved RCV in 2016 --while also respecting the Maine Supreme Court's non-binding advisory opinion that the new law did not fully comply with a provision in the state constitution that allows elections for governor, State House, and State Senate to be decided by plurality.
LD 1646 was amended in the Republican-controlled State Senate to delay RCV's implementation for all primary and general elections until December 2021. Further, if the RCV law is not brought into constitutional compliance, it will be repealed completely.
Enough Democrats crossed over to pass this version of Ackley's bill.
After the final vote, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV Maine) vowed to immediately launch a people's veto -- an effort that has the support of the state's first independent State Treasurer.
“If a people’s veto campaign moves forward to restore election reform, I will strongly support it,” says Terry Hayes.
“As Governor, I will work for a constitutional amendment that allows ranked-choice voting to be used in general elections for state offices, and I will support other election and campaign finance reforms that create a level playing field for Maine people to participate more fully in our democracy.”
Hayes added a message for supporters of election reform, saying, "Don’t give up. Hang in there. It’s easy to be cynical, but we need you. Sometimes it takes longer than it should to get good policy outcomes, but it’s worth our time and energy.”