Peter Pitegoff, Former Dean, University of Maine School of Law

"I concur with Professor Bam’s analysis and conclusion that the legislation is constitutional."

"As we discussed, the proposed Ranked Choice Voting legislation for Maine appears to me to be consistent with and permissible under the Maine Constitution. I have reviewed the memoranda and letters you received from Andrew Spencer of the Center for Voting and Democracy, from Verrill Dana LLP attorney Timothy Shannon, from Shapiro Arato LLP attorney Alexandra A.E. Shapiro, and from Drummond Woodsum attorney Jamie Kilbreth.  Moreover, I have spoken at some length with Professor Dmitry Bam, my colleague at the University of Maine School of Law and an expert in constitutional law.

I concur with Professor Bam’s analysis and conclusion that the legislation is constitutional. As his letter to you effectively explains, the plain text of the Maine Constitution would allow for ranked choice voting, and the history of the plurality clauses of the Constitution would suggest no hurdle to enacting the ranked choice voting legislation. Absent clear indication that the Constitution forbids ranked choice voting, deference to the political choice of Mainers and their elected leaders is appropriate. Although Maine has no binding precedent on this particular matter, courts in other jurisdictions have upheld the tabulation methodology of ranked choice voting.

As you know, I am a Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law, where I served as Dean from 2005 to 2015.  Previously, for 17 years, I was on the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, where I also served as Vice Dean. Before and during my academic career, my practice and study of law has focused on economic development, corporate law, and professional responsibility, and has included attention to democratic process and state and local governance.

I trust that my modest contribution to this discussion will serve to reinforce and amplify the expert opinions you already have received from others."

Peter Pitegoff
Professor of Law, University of Maine School of Law
Former Dean, University of Maine School of Law

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