GOP Submits Petitions to Block Presidential Ranked Voting

By Polityk | 17/06/2020 | Повідомлення, Політика

The Maine GOP submitted petitions Monday designed to stop the use of a ranked voting style for president, setting up an Election Day fight over the future of the method.
Maine became the first state in the country to adopt ranked choice voting when residents approved of it in 2016. The rollout of the voting method has since been bumpy, with legal challenges and attempts to reduce its use or scrap it altogether.
But Maine voters were set to use ranked voting for president for the first time in U.S. history in November. The Republicans’ signatures, if verified by the Maine Secretary of State, would instead force a veto vote on the ballot-casting method on Election Day. Voters would decide on Nov. 3 whether to keep ranked voting for president in future elections.
The Republicans submitted more than 72,000 signatures, several thousand above the number they needed to force the veto vote, said Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage. Ranked voting cost the Republicans a seat in Congress in 2018 when Democratic Rep. Jared Golden defeated incumbent Bruce Poliquin, and the GOP has long criticized the method as confusing, unnecessary and unfair.
“The people’s veto has always been about restoring the sanctity of our election process, preserving the bedrock American principle of ‘one person, one vote’ and ensuring that Ranked Choice Voting does not interfere with Maine’s Presidential elections,” Savage said.
Republicans contend the new voting method violates the principle of one person, one vote. Democrats have said it simply gives voters more choice. Proponents also say the voting method eliminates spoiler candidates and ensures the winner earns a majority of votes.
Ranked choice voting is used in some municipalities around the country, including Portland, Maine’s largest city. It essentially functions as an instant runoff. Voters rank their candidates, and their second choices come into play in ranked rounds if no candidate breaks 50% of the vote in the initial vote count.
Maine Democrats characterized the veto push as an attempt by Republicans to undermine the will of voters. Mainers reaffirmed their desire for ranked choice voting in a 2018 vote, they said.”Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike report that it’s important elections reflect the will of a majority of voters — exactly what RCV achieves, and what its opponents are trying to undermine,” said Kathleen Marra, chair of the Maine Democratic Party.
Maine uses ranked choice voting for U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. That isn’t changing, as the veto attempt applies only to the presidential election.  
Recent history suggests ranked voting would have a chance to impact Maine’s presidential election results in 2020. In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the state, but failed to crack 50% of the vote, which would have triggered the ranked round of voting. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson performed better in Maine than he did in most Democratic-leaning states.
The state also apportions electoral votes by congressional district, and President Donald Trump won the more conservative 2nd District in 2016. That district is expected to be in play again in 2020. Ranked voting could tip the balance in either direction.