In June, Maine is expected to hold the first-in-the-nation statewide primary election using ranked choice voting, with contests for governor, US Senate, and Congress on the agenda. But it is shaping up to be a potential disaster, as partisan differences have placed state election officials in the impossible position of being under a legal obligation to hold an election while not being given the means — financial, administrative and possibly constitutional — to do so. If nothing changes, there could be long delays in getting results, and the gubernatorial races in particular could be mired in law suits.
In this week’s Maine Sunday Telegram, I asked how a theoretically neutral electoral reform intended to reduce partisanship and polarization has become mired in polarization and partisanship, with Maine voters and legislators sharply split on party lines. The answers may surprise.
I last wrote about ranked choice voting in Maine just a week before, in this magazine piece for Politico.