Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Voters in Maine reaffirmed their approval of ranked-choice voting in a referendum on Tuesday, and used the system to elect Republican and Democratic candidates in the state's gubernatorial primary. (Photo: @DWaughNBCBoston/Twitter)

In 'Historic Victory', Maine Voters Demand Ranked-Choice Voting in Statewide Elections...Again

Reaffirming support for the system, Mainers are "leading the way in pro-democracy reforms, non-partisan reforms that level the playing field, that open the political process to more voices and more choice."

Julia Conley

Voters across Maine reiterated their support for ranked-choice voting (RCV) in the state's primary election, with 74 percent of precincts reporting that more than 54 percent had voted in favor of the system—an even higher approval rating than the system got in November 2016 when it first appeared on ballots.

Advocates of the system credited RCV with encouraging a high voter turnout, as Mainers were also able to rank their choices for gubernatorial candidates.

"There are so many people who were excited to vote, to rank their choices for the first time," Kyle Bailey, manager of the pro-RCV Yes on 1 campaign, told the Portland Press Herald.

Republican Shawn Moody had more than 56 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning, while none of the seven Democratic candidates had captured a majority of the vote after 74 percent of precincts had reported. Early results showed the most popular Democrat, Attorney General Janet Mills, with just 32.5 percent of the vote.

Under the RCV system, Democratic voters who supported the least-popular candidate will now have their first-choice votes canceled out and applied instead to their second choices. Votes will be recalibrated until one candidate wins a majority.

Hours before polls had even closed on Tuesday, Republican Governor Paul LePage said he would "probably not certify the election" and called RCV "the most horrific thing in the world."

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap quickly assured the public that LePage's threats will have no effect on which candidates make it to the ballot in November's general election.

"He cannot stop the nominations from going forward to the general election," Dunlap told the Press Herald. "His role is more or less ceremonial."

LePage and the Republican-controlled state legislature have previously fought against RCV, with lawmakers delaying the system's implementation last year despite its popularity in November 2016, when more than 52 percent of Mainers voted in the system's favor. A signature drive run by advocates gained enough support to bring the issue to another vote and to ensure that RCV was used on Tuesday.

"We are leading the way in pro-democracy reforms, non-partisan reforms that level the playing field, that open the political process to more voices and more choice," Bailey told supporters after local media projected that the Yes on 1 campaign would win the referendum. "This has been a long and winding road to get here to this point. Many of the people here and thousands of people across the state of Maine collected signatures. ...Mainers know our political system is broken, and we have the power to fix it. And that's what Yes on 1 today was all about."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'A Deal's a Deal': Progressive Leader Holds Strong on $3.5 Trillion Social Investment Plan

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says around 60 Democrats are willing to vote down a weaker bipartisan bill if the more sweeping reconciliation bill does not come first.

Jon Queally ·

Critics Fume as ICC Excludes US From Probe Into Afghan War Crimes

"Allowing powerful states to get away with multi-year, multi-continent torture against so many feeds impunity for all."

Andrea Germanos ·

Social Democrats, Greens Eye Coalition After Outgoing Merkel's Bloc Ousted in German Elections

Citing the need to act on the climate crisis, center-left SPD leader Olaf Scholz declared that "voters have clearly spoken."

Jon Queally ·

Trump's CIA Considered Kidnapping or Assassinating Assange: Report

"The Biden administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately."

Jake Johnson ·

'Carrying Water for Big Corporations': Sinema Faces Backlash for Opposing Tax Hikes

"Make no mistake, if she sides with her wealthy donors and kills popular investments to jump-start the economy, everyday families—including across Arizona—will pay the price."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo