RCV certified by state, will be used in June primaries

ELLSWORTH — Ranked choice voting will be in place during June’s primaries, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s office announced Monday.

Maine voters also will be deciding whether to repeal a law that delayed implementation of ranked choice voting to 2021. That law also would kill the voting system if the Legislature doesn’t pass a constitutional amendment regarding elections by that date.

The announcement was the result of a people’s veto that accrued 66,687 valid signatures targeting the delay law, which was passed in October.

Dunlap’s staff rejected 10,618 additional signatures as invalid for 14 different reasons. Ranked choice supporters needed 61,123 signatures for their effort to be successful.

A majority of the invalid signatures — 5,891 — were rejected because they did not belong to a registered voter in the city or town listed. Many others — 3,053 — were invalid because they were duplicates.

One key aspect of Maine’s “people’s veto” process is that the law in question is suspended until voters can decide whether to maintain it. In this case, that means ranked choice voting is the law and will be used during June’s primary races.

Dunlap’s team prepared a timeline for the three-month implementation of ranked choice voting.

From Monday through the end of March, Secretary of State’s Office staff plan to adopt rules outlining ranked choice voting procedures and acquire high-speed tabulators necessary for counting ballots.

Through April and May, the staff will be creating and approving education materials related to the new voting system, preparing instruction manuals for election officials, determining a secure area for the counting of ballots and preparing an election database.

Jack Dodson
Jack Dodson began working for The Ellsworth American in mid-2017, and covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties. He grew up in the Mid-coast region before living in New York City for five years, where he freelanced in documentary filmmaking and journalism. He is particularly interested in criminal justice, environment and immigration reporting.

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