Le Sigh. Remember how the people of Maine voted last year to switch to Ranked Choice Voting for local and state offices? Remember how for a while it appeared that the Legislature there would overturn it, but didn't? Remember "that depends on what your definition of the word 'majority' is"? Well, now the duly elected representatives in Augusta have kicked that particular can waaaaay down the road.
According to an email blast (which you can also read here) from the Maine Green Independent Party, who worked hard to get that referendum on the ballot and passed, LD 1646 has passed both houses of the Legislature, bearing the title "An Act to Implement Ranked Choice Voting in 2021."
That title would seem to indicate that RCV will happen, although not in time for the next gubernatorial election as the voters had been led to believe. However, there is a multitude of tiny devils in the details.
Researching and writing this post has led to a most unfortunate flashback. It has me remembering how Samantha Bee bitched about how independent and third-party voters twice saddled the State of Maine with a governor who makes Rick Perry look smart, but then completely ignored that the people of Maine had taken the issue into their own hands.
Last November, the state of Maine instituted Ranked Choice Voting statewide by popular referendum. Despite a recent court decision, wherein the court held that the method conflicted with the state's constitution, Ranked Choice Voting is still in effect in Maine. Huzzah!
My joy in reading the Salon article linked above is matched only by my joy that Salon published such an article. The stub on WABI's website made it look as though this were a binding decision that canceled the expressed will of the people. But Paul Rosenberg informs us on Salon that there was no court case, so there was no official judicial review. How could there actually be a case anyway? RCV hasn't been used yet, so it can't have harmed anyone yet, and there can be no plaintiff. Even if you believe that RCV brazenly violates the constitution, you can't really take it to court unless you can show where on the political doll RCV hurt you.
Nevertheless, the Maine legislature is already at work on efforts to codify RCV—or to overturn it—up to and including amending the state's constitution. These efforts may produce some odd coalitions within both houses, since electoral reform is (oddly enough) not a strictly partisan issue. Even Republicans there don't want another Paul LePage elected governor, or anyone taking office with less than 40% of the vote.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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