In a major victory for third parties, voters in Maine approved a statewide ballot initiative on November 8 establishing Ranked Choice Voting (sometimes called “Instant Runoff Voting” when used for single winner elections) in the state.
Passage of the measure makes Maine the first state in the nation to adopt Ranked Choice Voting on a statewide basis, which serves to nullify the “spoiler argument” used to suppress the votes of alternative party candidates.
Former LP state chair and the current 1st District Representative of the Libertarian Party of Maine, Jorge Maderal, was on the campaign committee for the successful Yes on 5 More Choice ballot measure.
Ranked Choice voting will now be used to elect US House, US Senate, Governor, the state legislature, and any nominations by primary election to these offices.
On a ranked choice ballot, voters rank as many candidates as they want from their favorite to their least favorite. Voters can choose to not rank some candidates at all. If one candidate receives an outright majority as voters’ first choice, he or she wins. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated and voters who ranked that candidate first will have their vote instantly reassigned to their next choice candidate. This process repeats until one candidate reaches a majority of non-exhausted votes. (An exhausted vote is a ballot on which all candidates that were ranked have been eliminated.)
A statement by the League of Women’s Voters at the Fair Vote website asserts that Ranked Choice Voting will reduce negative campaigning because candidates will need to appeal to a broader range of voters and that it will allow candidates from outside the two major parties to compete.
Read Huffington Post coverage of the ballot victory here.