Volunteers are expected to fan out across Maine this coming weekend to gather signatures on a citizen initiative petition to place ranked-choice voting on the ballot.
Organizers for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting have already collected more than 55,000 signatures and need 60,000 to put the measure on the ballot this fall.
Under ranked-choice voting, voters in a multiple candidate election assign a number corresponding to their interest in a candidate. Votes of candidates with the fewest votes are redistributed until a final victor emerges.
Portland adopted this system in 2011 to elect its mayor. However, if the statewide initiative is successful, Maine would be the first state in the nation with this system – which would be used to elect governor, U.S. Congress members and state representatives.
The committee is planning a statewide “weekend of action” on Jan. 2-3, when volunteers are expected to fan out to post offices, shopping centers and events across the state to collect signatures.
“The enthusiasm and energy behind the citizen initiative for ranked choice voting is overwhelming,” said former state Sen. Dick Woodbury of Yarmouth, who co-chairs the committee. “This could be the most important cause that I have worked on in my decade in politics.”
“What we’re seeing and hearing is that Mainers are ready for ranked choice voting,” added state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, also a co-chair. “Few citizen initiatives have matched this effort in inspiring so many Mainers to take action in such a short period of time to build a real grassroots movement for reform.”