The Portland Press Herald published an editorial Thursday, calling on lawmakers to save ranked choice voting. Maine lawmakers are currently considering two bills that would either amend the constitution for ranked choice voting or fully repeal the voter-approved statute.
The majority of Maine voters approved the implementation of ranked choice voting for state and federal elections in November 2016. Nearly 400,000 voters gave the ballot measure (Question 5) the second-largest referendum victory in Maine’s history.
The Press Herald writes:
"[T]he merits of ranked-choice voting aren’t the issue here. Those were debated at length in the lead-up to Nov. 8. Voters heard them – along with questions about the measure’s constitutionality – and a majority clearly wants a new electoral system. At issue now is whether the Legislature will listen."
"The matter is back in lawmakers’ hands after the court last month unanimously ruled that parts of the new ranked-choice voting law are unconstitutional," the editorial continues.
To be clear, the Maine Supreme Court's non-binding opinion pertains to a constitutional provision that deals with the general elections for governor, State Senate, and State House. There is no constitutional conflict to use ranked choice voting for primary and federal elections in Maine.
"Maine Republicans [...] have never liked ranked-choice voting, they're using the court’s ruling to call for a full repeal of the referendum. Some Democrats – apparently not as concerned about the will of the people here [...] have joined them, and ranked-choice voting appears doomed."
"That’s a shame. The court’s ruling should not be cover to sweep away the outcome of the November election," the Press Herald adds.
Read the full editorial here.