Will Maine's move to ranked-choice voting be a trendsetter?
Democrat Jared Golden edged out Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, thanks to Maine’s recent adoption of ranked-choice voting: Poliquin led on the first count, but since he remained under 50 percent, voters’ second-choice candidates were tallied, pushing Golden ahead for the win. Poliquin and Republicans are outraged by this system, which was chosen by Maine voters in 2016, but experts say it could be the wave of the future:
“Other state reform efforts have watched the Maine innovation with great hope and interest, and now they’re seeing it actually implemented,” says Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “I think we will look back on Maine’s adoption of this initiative as a real watershed in the history of present-day electoral reform in the United States.” […]
Lee Drutman, an election reform researcher at the think thank New America in Washington, D.C., says other jurisdictions will take notice that the system worked as intended. “When you try something new, there’s always fear mongering that somehow things will go awry,” he says. “But it’s clear that Maine voters used it and seem to be pretty happy with it.”
Maine had an extra push to adopt RCV, since many recent elections in the state had had split votes leading to winners who didn’t get a majority. But who knows, maybe some other states will go for it—and if Republicans thought it would benefit them, they’d probably embrace it too.