Senate gives initial support to Sen. Miramant bill to expand ranked-choice voting

Mon, 06/07/2021 - 7:00pm

    AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate voted Monday in favor of 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,” received a vote of 21-12.

    “Time and again, Maine voters have told us they want ranked-choice elections. Far too often, voters can feel like they’re caught between a rock and a hard place when trying to choose which candidate to vote for, trying to figure out if they want to support who they think will win or who they think should win,” said Sen. Miramant. “Ranked-choice voting gives voters more confidence that voting their conscience will mean something. There’s still more work to be done to get this bill across the finish line, but I’m glad it received the support it did today.”

    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, with a ranked-choice voting system, in a general election, according to a news release. 

    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 This voter-approved law was repealed by lawmakers in 2017.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 voters in a second referendum in 2018. In 2019, the legislature expanded the ranked-choice system to include presidential primaries and general elections.

    LD 202 faces further votes in the Legislature.

    As a Constitutional Amendment, LD 202 requires 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.