Committee approves Sen. Miramant bill to expand ranked-choice voting

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 5:15pm

    AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee approved Friday a bill from Senator David Miramant, D-Camden, to expand the use of Ranked Choice Voting in Maine elections.

    LD 202, “Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Implement Ranked-choice Voting,” was voted out of committee 6-4 Ought to Pass as Amended, with three members absent.

    “I am very pleased that my colleagues in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee voted to send this bill to expand ranked-choice voting to the full Legislature for a vote,” said Sen. Miramant. “Here in Maine, we've been using ranked-choice voting in many of our elections for years. The people of Maine have voted twice in the last five years to show their support for ranked-choice voting in our elections, including for the offices of governor and state legislature. We’ve had a long public education process, and we know that not only does this system work, it works better than we even expected.”

    This resolution would amend the Constitution of Maine to require candidates for the offices of Governor, State Senator and State Representative to be elected by a majority of the votes cast for that office. Currently, those offices are elected by a plurality of the votes cast.

    In 2016, Maine voters adopted ranked-choice voting, including for the offices of governor and state legislature, by referendum.

    This voter-approved law was repealed by lawmakers in 2017. That repeal then was overturned by Maine’s voters in a second referendum in 2018. In 2019, the legislature expanded the ranked-choice system to include presidential primary and general elections. Currently, ranked-choice voting is used in Maine for all elections to federal office and for presidential primaries. LD 202 now faces votes in the Senate and the House.

    As a Constitutional Amendment, LD 202 would require two-thirds approval in both chambers of the Legislature, and would need to be approved by a majority of voters at the next general election.