With the 2020 Election well under way–as voters around the country stand on long lines to vote early in person and place completed paper ballots into drop boxes and mail slots — eyes are on Maine, which is poised to become the first state to use ranked choice voting in electing the president.
Maine already broke new ground in 2018, when it became the first state to elect its Congressional representatives and a U.S. Senator–Angus King, an Independent–with ranked choice voting aka RCV, which even altered the outcome in one race. Democrat Jared Golden initially trailed Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin by about 2,000 votes in District 2, but ultimately beat him by about 3,000, after picking up roughly 90% of the second-choice votes of the two independent candidates in the race. Aided by RCV, Golden became the first challenger to oust an incumbent in that District in a century.
For this year’s presidential race, Maine’s four Electoral College votes are at stake. That is not many, and it could be as few as 3 because Maine is one of two states where those votes can potentially be split between two candidates. Nevertheless, Maine is considered a swing state and the use of ranked choice voting could determine who gets its 3 or 4 Electoral College votes and conceivably determine the outcome.
Not only that. This election stands a real chance of flipping the Senate from Republican to Democratic control and RCV is even more likely to make the difference there. One of the Republican seats most in play is that of Senator Susan Collins of Maine, whose failure in 2018 to vote against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court exposed the hollowness of her claim to be a pro-choice moderate. Running against Collins are Democrat Sara Gideon and two independents, Lisa Savage a former Green, and Max Linn, who has run in the past as a Republican. Recent polls show Gideon with a slight lead over Collins, close enough that reallocated votes could make the difference. As of Oct. 28, one poll had Savage at 4.7% and Linn at 1.7%. With RCV, those Savage votes are likely to go to Gideon, bolstering her advantage over Collins.Continue reading RANKED CHOICE DEBUTS IN MAINE VOTE FOR PRESIDENT