By Don Carrigan
October 23, 2107
AUGUSTA, Maine — It looks like ranked choice voting (RCV) isn’t going to happen in Maine, at least for several years. Voters decided in November of last year to adopt the voting method but the state’s Supreme Court has said part of the RCV law is unconstitutional.
Many Democrats in the Legislature wanted Tuesday’s special session to pass an amended version of the law, so that RCV could be used next year in federal elections, such as for U.S. Senate and party primary races. That would have required two separate ballot-counting methods at polling places, and Maine’s secretary of state and town and city clerks opposed the pan.
Many Republicans wanted RCV repealed, while others wanted it delayed beyond the next election.
The state Senate on Tuesday passed a plan to delay the effective date of RCV until 2021, to give supporters time to attempt to change the Maine Constitution. However, under that plan, if the constitution is not changed by 2021, RCV would simply go away, and never be implemented.
Because a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote of the full Legislature, lawmakers have said an RCV amendment could not pass in the current political atmosphere in Augusta. It will be up to the supporters of the plan to pressure Legislators to try an amendment in the future.