Seventy thousand Mainers successfully petitioned for a November 2016 referendum vote on ranked-choice voting.
If passed, RCV would apply to Maine primary and general elections for Congress, state Legislature, and governor whenever there are three or more candidates. Voters rank preferences among candidates. If no candidate receives a first-ballot majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. That candidate’s votes are reassigned to the remaining candidates based on his voter’s second choices. In a three-person race, one candidate would now win with a majority.
RCV encourages less divisive politics: Winning requires a majority, so candidates will broaden their positions to seek second-choice votes, and individuals with broader appeal are encouraged to run. Because they can designate a second choice, voters give first-choice ranking to the candidate they prefer without worrying about “wasting” their votes.