The race for the Republican nomination for Senate District 16 will go to a ranked-choice runoff after none of the three candidates were able to secure at least 50% of the vote, the Secretary of State’s Office announced Wednesday.

Michael Perkins

In the lead is state Rep. Michael Perkins who received 846 votes, or roughly 44%, followed by Kevin Kitchin, who received 732 votes, or 38%. They were followed by Mark Andre, who received 334 votes, or around 18%. The ranked-choice count is automatically triggered when no candidate reaches 50%, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows told the Morning Sentinel.

Kevin Kitchin

That means that the ballots cast in favor of Andre will be examined again, and the second choice candidate listed on those ballots, Kitchin or Perkins, will receive that vote. Kitchin and Perkins will not lose any of their original votes, Bellows said.

The count will be held Thursday, June 16, at 1:30 p.m. at the Burton M. Cross State Office Building in rooms 103 A and B. The process is open to the public.

District 16 includes Albion, Fairfield, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow.

Bellows said she wants ranked-choice voting to be a transparent process and for voters to understand how it works.

“One of the benefits of ranked-choice voting is it allows voters to vote with their hearts and principles rather than trying to vote strategically,” Bellows said. “They can vote the candidate of their choice and know they are not wasting their vote on the candidate that comes in last, because if no one gets 50% those votes will be tabulated and will count in the ranked-choice voting process. It ensures that whichever candidate goes to general election will have received a majority of the primary votes.”

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