Maine first state to have Ranked Choice Voting for presidential elections and general elections

By Ramona du Houx

Maine made history on June 6th, 2019 when Governor Janet Mills decided to let legislation, passed by the Maine House and Senate, that will allow ranked-choice voting for presidential elections to become law without her signature.

RCV is a groundbreaking structural reform that is key to fixing our broken political system and transforming American politics,” said former state Rep. Dick Woodbury, lead petitioner of Maine’s original ranked-choice voting law that was enacted by the Maine people at the ballot box in 2016 and protected in a historic people’s veto campaign in 2018. It was first used in a historic race in 2018 for the 2nd Congressional District where now Congressman Golden won.

In a memo to the Legislature announcing her decision this afternoon, Governor Mills lauded Ranked-choice Voting (RCV) as giving voters greater voice and encouraging civility, but explained that after consultation with stakeholders and much deliberation she remained concerned over costs, logistics, and the lack of funding to implement the bill.

“Governor Mills could have signed LD 1083 into law, but instead chose to hold the bill, thus Maine voters are unlikely to be able to rank their choices in the crowded March primary,” said David Farmer, a spokesperson for The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting. “With an unprecedented number of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, voters could be forced to pick just one and that’s too bad. However, RCV will be used in next November’s presidential election and in future primaries and general elections for President moving forward.”

Senate President Troy Jackson’s bill LD 1083, "An Act To Implement Ranked-choice Voting for Presidential Primary and General Elections in Maine" will become law in January 2020. Maine voters will be able to rank their choices starting with the general election on November 3, 2020. 

LD 1083 was enacted by the Maine Senate on Aug. 26, 2019 during a special session with a 20-12 vote. The Maine House of Representatives enacted LD 1083 on June 19, 86-59.

“Maine will continue to light the path towards making our union more perfect,” said Cara McCormick, Chair of The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.