Craft breweries throughout Maine will be holding “beer elections” during the month of September, hosting tastings and allowing customers to rank their beers as part of a campaign to bring attention to the ranked choice voting referendum on the ballot this year. The events, organized by the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, are designed to showcase how straightforward and empowering voting in future elections will be if Question 5 passes in November.
“This is a fun way to demonstrate how ranked choice voting works, and an opportunity to support Maine’s vibrant craft brewing industry,” said Committee for Ranked Choice Voting campaign manager Kyle Bailey. “We rank choices every day of our lives. Ranking candidates for public office is no different.”
19 breweries are backing the referendum and hosting the demonstrations, with the first scheduled for Friday, September 2nd at Oxbow Brewing in Newcastle. (See the full list of breweries here.)
If approved by voters, Question 5 would give Maine voters the power to rank candidates for public office up and down the ballot. The voting system, already in use in Portland mayoral elections, is designed to allow a greater degree of voter choice. If a voter’s first-place choice can’t win after the ballots are tallied, their vote is instantly counted for their next choice, removing the possibility of “spoiler” candidates or the need to vote strategically for a candidate other than one’s top preference.
“By voting yes on Question 5, voters will have more choice and more voice in electing our leaders,” said Bailey. “Ranking candidates is empowering. Ranking beer is just fun.”