Letter to Lawmakers from Maine Leaders

Dear Maine Senators and Representatives,

We are civic, business, faith, and community leaders from across the State of Maine and from across the political spectrum. We are writing to you today regarding Maine’s ranked-choice voting law and the recent Opinion of the Justices on this matter.

In their opinion, the Justices cited the “plurality provisions” in Maine’s Constitution as cause for concern with using ranked-choice voting in general elections for governor, state senate, and state house. While these provisions govern these three elections, there are no constitutional questions about using ranked-choice voting in primary and federal elections, which are governed by statute.

As Mainers, we use common sense to solve problems. The common sense solution to solve this problem would be to resolve constitutional questions in a way that also respects the election results from last November and the will of the Maine people.

We call on the Maine Legislature to do the right thing:

Reject unnecessary, wholesale repeal of Maine’s ranked-choice voting law;

Support a common sense fix that upholds the will of the people and brings the law into constitutional compliance; and,

Pass a constitutional amendment to allow ranked-choice voting to be used in the three general elections for state offices, and send it to Maine people for ratification.

Furthermore, the argument that it might be confusing for voters to use ranked-choice voting in some races but not in others is arbitrary and insulting. In every city that has adopted ranked-choice voting, voters use it in some races but also use it alongside first-past-the-post in other races. For example, Portland voters use ranked-choice voting to elect their mayor, but not to elect their city councilors. Voters in Portland, and elsewhere, prefer ranked-choice voting over first-past-the-post. Cities that have adopted this reform have also reported greater voter participation.

Respectfully submitted,

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