Secretary Dunlap confirms: Congressional District 2 tabulation will go into ranked-choice voting rounds

Posted:  Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 5:45pm
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AUGUSTA  — Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Maine's top election official, said Nov. 7 that the tabulation of results in the Congressional District 2 race will require the ranked-choice voting process.

This race is one of three in the Nov. 6, 2018 election that is subject to ranked-choice voting, which requires that the winner must win by more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Night, or the process moves into elimination rounds.

Based on press reports, unofficial results from the other two races, for U.S. Senate and Congressional District 1, show candidates winning with majorities on Election Night, but none of the CD2 candidates appear to have won with a majority of the ballots cast: maine.gov/sos/news/2018/rcvcongressdis2.html

Secretary of State Department staff members must log, unlock and unseal each ballot box from hand count towns to scan the ballots using a high-speed tabulator; and log, unseal and upload all the memory devices from tabulator towns and cities before loading all the votes into the results program and then certifying the results to ensure accuracy. The final, official results of the RCV tabulation will be released as soon as they are available, likely during the week of November 12. Dates are subject to change and the public will be updated during the process.

Tabulation will begin Friday, Nov. 9, and continue during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and will include Saturday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Veterans Day holiday, Monday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., until completion of the tabulation process. This is a public proceeding and press are welcome, so long as they remain within the public area. *Members of the press who are seeking images of the ballot drop-off process, beginning late Thursday afternoon, are advised that couriers will be using the D2 loading dock to deliver ballots, which is on the opposite side of the building from the public entrance.

According to a news release from the Chamberlain Project, a nonprofit that works to educate the public about ranked choice voting, said Nov. 6 that:

With Ranked Choice Voting, ballots are counted in rounds where last-place candidates lose until one candidate reaches a majority and wins. Here’s how the tabulation of votes will take place in Maine’s second district race:

Votes are counted at the municipal level just like now. Should either Poliquin or Golden receive an outright majority of first-choice rankings, they would win. However, if neither candidate receives an outright majority, Maine’s Secretary of State in Augusta would tabulate the votes in a second round of tabulation to determine a majority winner. 
 
In the second rounds of tabulation, the independent candidates would be eliminated. Each voter who liked the eliminated candidates the best would have their votes counted for the remaining candidate whom they ranked highest, either Poliquin or Golden, one of whom would now have a majority and win.
 
Ranked Choice Voting works like actual runoff elections, which a dozen other states use, but without the cost and delay of holding a new election. With Ranked Choice Voting, you know exactly what voters would do in a runoff based on how they ranked the candidates.
 
Maine voters used RCV in today’s U.S. Senate race, and voters in Maine’s first congressional district used it as well. Polling indicated that neither of those races were as close as the one in Maine’s second district. If no candidate receives an outright majority in those contests, ballots will be counted in the same way as described in Maine’s second district contest.