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June 12, 2018 Question 1 – Too Confusing to Support

Voters throughout The State of Maine will have a chance to make their voices heard on ranked choice voting. Or will they? The ballot question is so convoluted that it is impossible to know what is being asked.

Question 1: People’s Veto

Do you want to reject the parts of a new law that would delay the use of ranked-choice voting in the election of candidates for any state or federal office until 2022, and then retain the method only if the constitution is amended by December 1, 2021, to allow ranked-choice voting for candidates in state elections?

There is only one way to deal with this ridiculous abuse of voters – Vote NO on Question 1 on June 12, 2018.

Even though it is a primary election day, all voters are eligible to vote against this question.

The full text of this intentionally confusing question is presented below.

To the Governor of the State of Maine:

In accordance with Section 17 of Article IV, Part Third of the Constitution of the State of Maine, the undersigned electors of the State of Maine, qualified to vote for Governor, residing in said State, whose names have been certified, hereby request to veto parts of Public Law 2017, Chapter 316, “An Act To Implement Ranked-choice Voting in 2021” as shown below. The parts of Sections 1 and 3 to be vetoed are shaded in gray. The other sections printed below would be vetoed in full.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §1, sub-§27-C, as enacted by IB 2015, c. 3, §1, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:

27-CElections determined by ranked-choice voting.   “Elections determined by ranked-choice voting” means:

A. Primary elections for the offices of United States Senator, United States Representative to Congress, Governor, State Senator and State Representative;

B. General and special elections for the offices of United States Senator and United States Representative to Congress; and 

C. General and special elections for the offices of Governor, State Senator and State Representative.

This subsection is repealed December 1, 2021 unless, prior to that date, the voters of the State ratify an amendment to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 5, Article IV, Part Second, Sections 4 and 5 and Article V, Part First, Section 3 authorizing the Legislature, by proper enactment, to determine the method by which the Governor and members of the State Senate and House of Representatives are elected.

Sec. 2. 21-A MRSA §1, sub-§35-A, as enacted by IB 2015, c. 3, §2, is amended to read:

35-A. Ranked-choice voting.  “Ranked-choice voting” means the method of casting and tabulating votes in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, tabulation proceeds in sequential rounds in which last-place candidates are defeated and the candidate with the most votes in the final round is elected.

This subsection is repealed December 1, 2021 unless, prior to that date, the voters of the State ratify an amendment to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 5, Article IV, Part Second, Sections 4 and 5 and Article V, Part First, Section 3 authorizing the Legislature, by proper enactment, to determine the method by which the Governor and members of the State Senate and House of Representatives are elected.

Sec. 3. 21-A MRSA §601, sub-§2, ¶J, as enacted by IB 2015, c. 3, §3, is amended to read: 

J. For offices electedelections determined by ranked-choice voting, the ballot must be simple and easy to understand and allow a voter to rank candidates for an office in order of preference. A voter may include no more than one write-in candidate among that voter’s ranked choices for each office.

This paragraph is repealed December 1, 2021 unless, prior to that date, the voters of the State ratify an amendment to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 5, Article IV, Part Second, Sections 4 and 5 and Article V, Part First, Section 3 authorizing the Legislature, by proper enactment, to determine the method by which the Governor and members of the State Senate and House of Representatives are elected.

Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §723, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2017, c. 248, §5, is further amended to read:

1.  Primary Election. In a primary election held before December 1, 2021, the person who receives a plurality of the votes cast for nomination to any office, as long as there is at least one vote cast for that office, is nominated for that office, except for write-in candidates under paragraph A. In a primary election held on or after December 1, 2021, the person who is determined the winner pursuant to section 723-A for nomination to any office, as long as there is at least one vote cast for that office, is nominated for that office, except for write-in candidates under paragraph A. 

A. A write-in candidate who complies with section 722-A and who fulfills the other qualifications under section 334 may be nominated at the primary election if that person receives a number of valid write-in votes equal to at least twice the minimum number of signatures required under section 335, subsection 5 on a primary petition for a candidate for that office.

B. The Secretary of State shall immediately certify by mail the nomination of each person nominated by the primary election.

 Sec. 11. 21-A MRSA §723-A, sub-§6, as enacted by IB 2015, c. 3, §5, is amended to read:

6. Application.  This section applies to elections held on or after January 1, 2018December 1, 2021.

Sec. 12. 21-A MRSA §723-A, sub-§7 is enacted to read:

7Contingent repeal.   This section is repealed December 1, 2021 unless, prior to that date, the voters of the State ratify an amendment to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 5, Article IV, Part Second, Sections 4 and 5 and Article V, Part First, Section 3 authorizing the Legislature, by proper enactment, to determine the method by which the Governor and members of the State Senate and House of Representatives are elected.

Sec. 13. Secretary of State to report. The Secretary of State shall conduct an evaluation of implementation of ranked-choice voting for primary elections for the offices of United States Senator, United States Representative to Congress, Governor, State Senator and State Representative and general and special elections for the offices of United States Senator and United States Representative to Congress, including, but not limited to, identification of statutory conflicts between Initiated Bill 2015, chapter 3 as amended by this Act and relevant provisions of the Maine Revised Statutes. The evaluation must include an estimate of the costs associated with the implementation of ranked-choice voting. No later than January 2, 2019, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over election matters, including recommended legislation, for the administration of ranked-choice voting for the elections as described in this section. The joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over election matters is authorized to submit legislation based on the report described in this section to the First Regular Session of the 129th Legislature.

Sec. 14. Contingent legislation. If the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 21-A, section 723-A is repealed pursuant to Title 21-A, section 723-A, subsection 7, the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over election matters shall submit a bill to the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature to reflect the repeal of ranked-choice voting provisions found in the Maine Revised Statutes.