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Election 2020

The State of Maine Will Use Ranked-Choice Voting for Future Presidential Elections

The Pine Tree State progresses towards more electoral reform.

Maine became the first state nationwide on September 6 to use ranked-choice voting or instant-runoff voting for future presidential elections after Governor Janet Mills allowed the legislation to go into law without her official signature. Ranked-choice voting will be used in the November 2020 presidential election, however, since the governor let the bill passed into law without signature, ranked-choice voting will not be used in the upcoming the presidential primaries in March 2020.

After passing a 2016 ballot initiative, Maine became the first state in the country to use ranked-choice voting in statewide primary races and federal elections with the exception of gubernatorial and state legislative general elections based on an advisory opinion of the state’s supreme court, which said that the state constitution calls for elections to state office based on a winner-take-all plurality system. Other local communities such as Cambridge, Massachusetts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and San Francisco, California use ranked-choice voting or instant run-off voting, a system in which voters numerically rank their ballot qualified or ballot write-in candidates of choice. If their own first set of choices do not qualify or make it in the first set of rounds, other selected candidates are counted for until there is a majority.

States across the country such as Alaska, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts have already either qualified or proposed ballot initiatives to implement ranked-choice voting or instant run-off voting for their own respective state, local, and or federal elections. Countries around the world such as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Malta, Northern Ireland, and Scotland use ranked-choice voting or instant run-off voting for their own elections.

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