Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s office released an informational video on ranked-choice voting Monday, roughly one month before Maine becomes the first state to use the tabulation process during a statewide election.

In the five-minute-long animated video, Dunlap walks viewers through the process of selecting candidates in the voting booth on June 12 and how votes will be tabulated using the ranked-choice system.

The secretary of state’s office also has posted sample ballots, frequently asked questions, final rules for the voting tabulation process and an “RCV Fact Sheet” to help voters.

“These are the final components of our ranked-choice voting resources web page, which we are providing so that voters can educate themselves about this new process before going to the polls or marking their absentee ballots,” Dunlap said in a statement. “I also look forward to meeting with voters to discuss this information with them during my visits this month.”

Maine voters will use the ranked-choice system to vote in four elections on June 12, although the Maine Republican Party has filed a court challenge to block the system’s use in the upcoming Republican primaries.

The four upcoming elections due to use the ranked-choice format are: the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor, the Democratic primary for Maine’s 2nd District and the Republican primary for House District 75 in Turner. At the same time, Mainers will be voting whether to keep ranked-choice voting in place for future elections.

The state’s use of ranked-choice voting is expected to draw national attention.

Under Maine’s traditional voting system, the candidate who gets the highest vote total is declared the winner, even if that is less than 50 percent in a race with three or more contestants.

In the ranked-choice system, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no one has won more than 50 percent of the vote after the first count, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose the eliminated candidate would have their ballots added to the totals of their second-ranked candidates, and the ballots would be retabulated. The process continues until two candidates are remaining, with the one with the majority of votes being declared the winner.

In the video released Monday, Dunlap made clear that voters can skip the ranked-choice system altogether by voting only for a single candidate in those races – a tactic some Republican leaders are pushing because they oppose the voting tabulation system. That person’s vote would only count in the first round of tabulation, however.

With seven Democrats and four Republicans running for their party’s respective gubernatorial nomination, those races are widely expected to trigger a ranked-choice calculation. That means the results will not be known on the evening of June 12 or potentially for days afterward because all paper ballots and electronic memory drives with voting results must be transported by courier to Augusta for tabulation.

“Determining the winner of each election will take awhile given the size of the great state of Maine,” Dunlap said in the video. “But we’ll report the unofficial results as soon as they are ready so you’ll know who has been chosen for each elected office.”

Dunlap is also holding five “outreach events” around the state and online this month on ranked-choice voting. The first was held Monday at McArthur Public Library in Biddeford. The schedule for the other events follows:

• Bangor: Tuesday, May 15, 4-6 p.m. at Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St.

• Presque Isle: Monday, May 21, 4-6 p.m. at Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Public Library, 39 2nd St.

• Lewiston: Tuesday, May 29, 4-6 p.m. at Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon St.

• Online via Facebook LIVE on Thursday, May 24, at 6 p.m. on the Secretary of State’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MaineSOS/

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinMillerPPH

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