On Nov. 8, 2016, the people of Maine approved citizen-initiated Question 5, An Act to Establish Ranked Choice Voting. Republicans, Democrats, independents, Greens, and Libertarians from every county offered their support in the second largest vote of the people in Maine history. Mainers chose a system that will give all qualified candidates a fighting chance, keep candidates who are opposed by a majority from being elected, and encourage candidates to focus on issues, not partisan bickering.

On Jan. 7, ranked-choice voting became law, but still requires implementation. The ballot design must be updated, counting procedures must be arranged, and local officials must be trained. The whole process must be completed efficiently, securely, and transparently. However, although they lost at the ballot box, opponents of ranked-choice voting are attempting to disregard the will of the people and block the law’s implementation. In doing so, they are undermining our right to direct democracy through the citizen initiative process.

The residents of Maine have long placed our own bills on the ballot, the right to which only 23 other states enjoy. Over the past three years, thousands of Mainers pitched in to put ranked-choice voting on the ballot and spread the word to their neighbors. The people have done their part. The Legislature and secretary of state now need to act with integrity and uphold their constitutional duty. Implementation must happen now, so that ranked-choice voting is in place by the 2018 election.

Maggie Clark


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