Tuesday, 12 June 2018 08:47

Maine taking plunge into ranked-choice voting; results likely to be delayed Featured

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STATEWIDE - Normally during a non-presidential election year, voter turnout may be lower.

This year may not fit that norm.


For months, ranked choice voting has been at the top of the news as it bounced from legislators and advocates, to the courts and back again.


On Tuesday, Maine voters will use ranked-choice voting for the first time. Because, to paraphrase the Maine Supreme court, "It's the law of the state."


"The election officials have been more or less worried about their role and how it's going to change. The way we've built this is in a way that their role doesn't change very much at all," Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said.


According to Dunlap, it is unlikely that the winners in any of the contested primaries will be known Tuesday night. In fact, he said, it could be several days before winners are declared.



"We're trying to under promise and over deliver on the timeframe. But we could know who the nominees are from the respective parties within a few days or a week or so after the election," Dunlap said.


The phones at the Secretary of State's Office have been peppered with voters curious about the new voting method.


"The question we've been getting most often from voters is do I have to rank my choices? And the answer to that is, no. You can just vote for one candidate," Dunlap said.


Dunlap said that at this point, election wardens are as prepared as possible. But, he said, probably because of the novelty of ranked choice voting there will be greater numbers of voters than normal for an off presidential election year.


"People in Maine are very committed to the process. And they make sure they vote. No matter who's on the ballot," he said.


If there is no winner after the initial tally, the ballots will be delivered by bonded courier to a building at the former Augusta Mental Health Institute, where the final counting takes place.


TJ Tremble

Assistant News Director/Reporter
[email protected]

T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, s...