Maine Senate passes ranked-choice voting legislation

Maine lawmakers are doing their best to bring the state into the modern age of voting, but they may have moved a little too fast.

While they already approved a primary election process to replace the usual caucuses, Maine lawmakers are now pushing the governor to sign ranked-choice voting legislation for the upcoming presidential primary race, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Leaving Caucuses Behind

The caucus system is a somewhat outdated system of voting, but it is still in place in roughly a dozen states throughout the country.

Rather than being a straightforward election, discussions are held to evaluate the candidates, then the citizen votes for his or her candidate.

Different states have different rules, as do the party delegations. For instance, in Iowa, Democrats require a precinct with two delegates to have a caucus group of 25 to be viable.

Obviously, if you are not in a caucus state, the whole process can get rather confusing — which is no doubt why Maine lawmakers are looking to move away from the process.

Ranked-Choice Voting

The ranked-choice voting method is very controversial but becoming more popular. Basically, rather than casting a single vote, you would rank the candidates in order of preference.

In the first round of voting, all primary votes are counted and if any one candidate has the outright majority, he or she is awarded victory.

If, however, there is no majority, the candidate that had the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the race. Anyone who chose that candidate as their top choice will then have their second choice counted as their vote. This process is repeated until a candidate wins the majority of the vote.

For the most part, Democrats are supporting this style of election while most Republicans are against it. Ironically, Maine’s Governor, Janet Mills, won her primary election using the ranked-choice method in June 2018.

Even though Mills won using this election method, she is still unsure what she is going to do with the legislation sitting on her desk.

The clock is definitely ticking, though, because unless this legislation is passed immediately, the state will not have ample time to prepare for a ranked-choice primary and will have to instead revert to traditional election procedures.

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