Ranked Choice Could Soon Apply to Presidential Elections in Maine
Dozens gathered in a public hearing in Augusta yesterday to support a bill that would expand Maine's ranked choice voting system to presidential elections, according to the Press Herald.
While there was no opposition from the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, a top state election official asserted that the change might not be doable given the timing ballot distribution to military voters and Maine voters overseas.
While some argued that ranked-choice was a good way to restore faith in the U.S. voting system, Rep. Sheldon Hanington, R-Lincoln, said he doesn't see any reason to change a system that already works just fine.
"To me the old analogy is, ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,'" Sheldon said.
The ranked-choice system allows votes to choose their favorite candidate and then rank the other candidates based on preference. If there isn't a candidate who receives over 50% of the votes, the lowest ranked candidate is eliminated and his or her votes distributed to the remaining candidates based on voters' second choice preferences.
Maine currently only uses ranked-choice voting in party primaries and general elections for Congress. Under this new bill, if a political party chooses to hold a primary instead of a caucus to select its presidential nominee, the voting would done by ranked-choice. Ballots cast in the general election for president also would be counted by ranked choice.