The headline for the Bangor Daily News this morning reads: "Maine again backs ranked-choice voting."
Again? The Maine legislature tried to undermine the will of the voters in October 2017, forcing advocates to place this People's Veto on the ballot. Now, Mainers had to vote a second time on what had been a record-breaking YES on Ranked Choice Voting ballot measure in 2016. The path to this victory has been hard-fought, with The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting championing the much-needed reform every step of the way. Christopher Cousins of BDN reports:
"Ranked-choice voting has been on a roller coaster ever since being enacted by referendum in November 2016."
"Opposition began to mount in the Legislature...resulting in the October 2017 passage of a bill that called for either a constitutional amendment by December 2021 or for ranked-choice voting to cease for good."
"Supporters of the measure launched a successful people’s veto petition, which led to Question 1 on Tuesday’s ballot."
"While debate raged in the Legislature, the issue went to the courts on multiple occasions, culminating in a Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling in April, ordering the secretary of state’s office to implement the system."
Other news outlets report similar excitement from the Maine election results, with the Portland Press Herald stating, "New voting system credited for strong turnout for Maine primaries." The Press Herald reports:
"Ranked-choice voting seemed to be a reason many voters headed to the polls early Tuesday."
Maine voter Eric Bridger said, "I’m a big supporter. It was pretty simple." Joe Fournier, an independent, voted to support ranked-choice voting and the town’s school budget. Fournier said it was frustrating to have to reaffirm support for ranked-choice voting after voting for it in the referendum two years ago.
"Over in Cape Elizabeth, Liz and Tom Murley said they were familiar with the process because they lived for years in England, which also uses ranked-choice voting in some elections.
“We think it’s great,” Liz Murley said, adding that the couple also voted in the referendum to support its continued use."
The Press Herald wasn't the only source keeping a close watch on the Maine election; many national outlets picked up on the buzz being generated by this "new" voting system, which has actually been in place for decades in certain U.S. cities, and over a century in countries abroad. The New York Times, Associated Press, and NBC Nightly News had their takes. The Washington Post highlighted RCV by saying, "Maine is making history Tuesday with a whole new way of voting."
Maine's achievement is sending waves of energy and excitement around the country, where other local and statewide efforts are already taking shape. We welcome all voters in Massachusetts to jump aboard our movement here in the Commonwealth, and get involved at the ground floor!