League of Women Voter of Maine Urges Legislature to Honor Will of Voters Regarding Ranked Choice Voting

Press Release May 25, 2017

Augusta - Rolling back the results of the 2016 election, the Legislative Council has approved consideration of a bill that would repeal ranked choice voting. The League of Women Voters of Maine (LWVME) is strongly opposed to this after-deadline bill, which ignores the vote of the public on a citizen initiative just a few months ago. As a long-time champion of ranked choice voting, the LWVME urges legislators to honor the will of Maine voters and reject the repeal bill.

"The Opinion of the Justices issued Tuesday does not affect the voter-enacted ranked choice voting law as it applies to federal races. Yet now some legislators want to throw out the entire law. This is unacceptable." said Jill Ward, president of the League of Women Voters of Maine. "The Legislature asked for the Court's advice and now that it has it, the Legislature should respect the will of the voters, move forward a constitutional amendment to address concerns raised by the Court, and get on with implementing the law. At the very least, the Legislature can + and should + preserve the law as it applies to federal races (U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate)."

The League has a long history advocating for ranked choice voting, and has determined that RCV honors basic democratic values, puts more power in the hands of voters, and produces election outcomes that better reflect the will of the people. RCV may also improve the civility of elections and increase voter turnout + key objectives of LWVME.

LWVME Advocacy Chair Ann Luther added, "The Supreme Court opinion is only a partial, temporary setback. Our public officials could easily address the issues identified by the Court by changing just six words in the statute. The legislature has the opportunity + and responsibility + to reconcile the law with the constitution. We continue to support a constitutional amendment to validate what the voters demanded at the ballot box. But while the amendment is under consideration, the legislature has the power and obligation to protect those parts of the law that are unrelated to the Court's advisory opinion. We urge them to do so, and we ask them to reverse course immediately on the repeal effort."