Maine Ranked-Choice Voting Ballot Initiative Declared Unconstitutional

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: May 23, 2017 12:45 PM
Maine Ranked-Choice Voting Ballot Initiative Declared Unconstitutional

Last year, Mainers voted overwhelmingly to approve a ballot question that would implement a ranked-choice voting system in the state. Ranked-choice voting creates a series of "instant runoffs" until a candidate for election has received a majority of the votes, and would apply in elections for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative, governor, state senate and state representative. On Tuesday, the state's Supreme Court ruled that the Ranked-Choice Voting Act is actually unconstitutional.

The decision was unanimous.

The vast majority of Maine's governors since 1982 have been elected with a plurality of the vote. Only (now-U.S. Senator) Angus King (I) has been elected with a majority of the vote in the last 30 years--during his re-election bid in 1998.

The Maine GOP praised the decision, saying that ranked-choice voting would have "undermine(d) the civic spirit and traditions of Maine's elections."

No state uses a ranked-choice system to elect candidates, although some localities use an instant-runoff format.