Supporters of Ranked Choice Voting have worked tirelessly, through some tough winter months, to gather the signatures needed to reverse the Legislature’s dramatic repeal of RCV last year. Their work is an inspiring example of grassroots-driven democracy in action, and both for that reason and because I believe that RCV has real potential to encourage civility in politics at every level, I am hopeful that the People’s Veto will be successful.
When my office was asked for an official opinion about the constitutionality of RCV, our attorneys were unanimous that parts of the 2016 ballot referendum conflict with the Maine Constitution, specifically as it applies to general elections for state and legislative offices (as opposed to Federal and primary elections). The Maine Supreme Court, after hearing arguments from all sides, last year issued a unanimous opinion concluding the same thing.
As a result, assuming the People’s Veto campaign is successful, RCV will most likely take effect for all primary contests this June (Congressional, gubernatorial and legislative primaries), and for Federal offices in November, but not for the election of state and legislative offices this November.
I believe that the intent of the RCV movement includes general elections for state offices. It is critical that we sit down and address those provisions of the Maine Constitution that prevent the clearly expressed will of the voters from being fully implemented. For this reason, as Governor, I will commit to drafting an amendment to the Constitution and sending a measure out to the people to allow RCV to be used in all — not just some — elections in Maine.