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Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 18, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, October 18, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, October 18, 2018
Election 2018: Ranked Choice Voting

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Maine’s November 6 General Election will be conducted using a system of ranked-choice voting for the offices of U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress, in which there are more than two candidates. Those races include:

The U.S. Senate race: Incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King (I), Maine Sen. Eric Brakey (R), and Zak Ringelstein (D)

The U.S. Congressional District 1 race: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D), Mark Holbrook (R), and Maine Rep. Martin Grohman (I)

The U.S. Congressional District 2 race: Incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R), Maine Rep. Jared Golden (D), Tiffany Bond (I) and William Hoar (I).

How does it work?

With RCV, voters choose their first-choice candidate and rank the remaining candidates in order of preference (i.e. second choice, third choice, etc.). First choices are counted, and if no candidate has a majority of the vote, an “instant runoff” occurs in which the candidate with the least support is eliminated, according to information provided by the League of Women Voters. In the event of a runoff, ballots are collected from each municipality and then tabulated by the Secretary of State’s office.

Voters who chose the eliminated candidate as their first choice have their vote counted for their next choice. In a race with more than three candidates, this process is repeated until one candidate has a majority.

The implementation of ranked-choice voting, which was first used statewide during the June primary, has been many years in the making and follows a lengthy legal battle that has existed since the law was passed by voters in 2016.