This isn't really "Presidential Election" news, so I think it deserves its own topic. There was a lot of discussion about alternative voting schemes, and it looks like Maine is going to adopt one of them. I dunno any of the details, but I felt like sharing.
If anyone has a good article on this subject, feel free to post. Question 5 has passed, roughly 52% to 48%.
This citizen-initiated legislation would establish a new method of voting and counting votes in elections for the offices of United States Senator, Representative to Congress, Governor, State Senator and State Representative, and in primary elections to determine the nominees for those offices.
Rather than choosing one candidate for each of these offices, voters would be allowed to rank all the candidates listed for each office, including up to one write-in candidate, in order of the voter’s preference. Thus in a three-way race, instead of marking one vote on the ballot for candidate A, B or C, the voter could express preferences among all three candidates by ranking them as choice(s) #1, 2 or 3 on the same ballot.
Ballots are counted at the municipal level in Maine, and there are approximately 500 municipalities. Under current law, all 500 municipalities report their vote tallies to the Secretary of State within three business days of the election, and the Secretary of State then aggregates those results in a single tabulation. The candidate with the most votes for each office based on that single tabulation wins.
Ranked-choice voting involves a different process for tallying voters’ choices. All of the voters’ first-choice votes would be tallied in the first round of counting by municipal officials and reported to the Secretary of State within three business days of the election, as occurs now. In a multi-candidate race, if one candidate were to win more than 50% of the total votes in the first round, that candidate would be declared the winner. If no candidate received over 50% of the vote in round one, then there would be a second round of counting. The candidate in last place after the first round would be eliminated, and the second-choice votes of the voters who preferred the eliminated candidate would be distributed to their second-choice candidates. In a three-way race, only two candidates would continue to round two, and the candidate with the most votes after round two would win. If there were four or more candidates in the race, the process might need to go to a third round of counting. A voter’s first choice would continue to be counted in each round unless that candidate had been eliminated, at which point the voter’s next ranked choice who had not been eliminated would be counted. This process would continue until only two candidates were left in the final round, or until one candidate received a majority.
The second and subsequent rounds of counting voter preferences could not be performed at the local level for statewide offices such as Governor or U.S. Senate, or for any elective office that encompasses more than one municipality. The process of re-allocating voter preferences in a multicandidate race would have to be done centrally, using computer software to read digitally scanned images of the ballots. Ballots or electronic devices holding images of ballots would have to be retrieved from all the municipalities in the district for that particular elective office (meaning 500 towns in a gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race), and delivered to a secure central location where the second and, if necessary, subsequent rounds of counting could be performed.
The Maine Constitution currently provides that in elections for Governor, State Senator and State Representative, the candidate who receives “a plurality of all votes returned” as reported by the municipalities wins. In order to implement ranked-choice voting in general elections for these offices, this language would have to be amended by a separate constitutional resolve, adopted by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and approved by the voters at a statewide referendum election. See Opinion of the Attorney General, No. 2016-01, dated March 4, 2016.
If approved, the citizen initiative would take effect 30 days after the Governor proclaims the official results of the November 2016 election, but the ranked-choice voting system would not apply to elections until 2018. This would allow time for the Legislature and the voters to consider a constitutional amendment before implementation.
A “YES” vote is to enact the initiated legislation.
A “NO” vote opposes the initiated legislation.