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For Immediate Release: Maine Leads the Nation with Ranked Choice Voting

MAINE LEADS THE NATION WITH RANKED CHOICE VOTING

Maine voters are reporting that Ranked Choice Voting was easy, and that they prefer it over the old system

 

For Immediate Release

Election Day | June 12, 2018

Contact:

Kyle Bailey, Campaign Manager for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting: Kyle@RCVMaine.com; 207-939-8600

Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director: jeanne.massey@fairvotemn.org; 612-850-6897

 

PORTLAND, MAINE – Following months of voter education and outreach, the nation’s first rollout of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in a statewide primary election is happening today. Maine voters are ranking their choices in four election contests: the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, the Democratic primary for Congress in Maine’s second district, and in one state house race. Maine voters are also voting on a “People’s Veto” on whether to continue using RCV for the 2018 and 2020 elections, or to delay future use until the 2022 election.

All signs indicate that Maine voters are finding RCV to be simple, fair, and easy, and that it has led to more positive, issue-focused campaigns.

“I’m voting with my heart for my first and second choices, and with my head for my third choice,” said Abbie Ryder from Saco, a voter in the Democratic primary. “Ranked Choice Voting gives me a chance to vote my hopes, and not my fears. I’m excited about voting for the first time in a long time.”

Jan Miliano of Gorham indicated that there was more civility as a result of RCV. “There seemed to be less anger,” said Miliano.

Ranked Choice Voting is transforming elections for the better in places across the country, including in Minnesota, California, and in the first RCV election held in Santa Fe, New Mexico earlier this year.

“In Santa Fe, RCV resulted in a mayor elected by 66 percent of the voters in a simple, single decisive election last March. The first-time use here couldn’t have gone more smoothly and voters loved the experience,” said FairVote New Mexico’s leader Maria

Perez. “Now, Las Cruses has adopted it, more and more cities are exploring it and there’s interest in expanding it to state elections, too. We are all looking to see how the Maine elections go today.”

Despite some challenges unrelated to RCV, including a delay in providing final results due to the logistics of transporting ballots from rural areas, voters and election judges across the state reported few problems.

“Ranked Choice Voting is the simplest, fairest way to ensure that every voter has his or her voice heard in our elections, said Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director. The 2017 elections in the Twin Cities proved the power of RCV to give voters more choice and more power, increase diversity and voter participation, make campaigns more civil and elect candidates with broad popular support.”

RCV encouraged candidates to find common ground, build coalitions, and focus on issues that matter to voters.

For all these reasons, we are eagerly watching the statewide experience today in Maine. The state is inspiring a better democracy movement across the county from Minnesota to Massachusetts to New Mexico to Wisconsin to California. 

Today is one of Ranked Choice Votings biggest tests yet, and it seems to be passing with flying colors. 

At a time when turnout in primary elections is trending downward across the nation, today’s turnout is already exceeding past elections. RCV drives voter turnout by making elections more competitive and engaging more voters. “Anything we can do to increase the participation of voters, we should do,” explained Kyle Bailey, Campaign Manager for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting. “RCV is one of the most promising structural changes to our voting system we can make.”

“We’re proud to be leaders along with Minnesota in this important movement that is giving voters more choice, making campaigns more civil and eliminating the anti-democratic menace of spoilers and wasted votes, concluded Cara McCormick, and we are  excited to show other states just how doable this vital reform really is.”

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