In this Nov. 12, 2018 file photo, ballots are prepared for tabulation in Augusta, Maine, in the Second Congressional District's House election, the first congressional race in American history to be decided by the ranked-choice voting method. Gov. Janet Mills has until midnight Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, to sign or veto a bill that would allow ranked-choice voting in the state's March 2020 presidential primary. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Maine to allow ranked votes in general presidential election

September 06, 2019 - 2:40 pm

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine is set to become the first state to allow voters to rank candidates in a general presidential election.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Friday she'll allow such a bill to become law in January without her signature.

The legislation requires ranked choice voting in presidential elections and primaries.

Mills' office says ranked voting won't be used in a planned presidential primary in March 2020. But future presidential primaries would use it.

Under the system, voters rank three or more candidates on a ballot in order of preference. If no candidate gets more than 50%, the last-place candidate is eliminated.

The second-choice votes of everyone who ranked that candidate first are allocated until someone receives over 50%.

Mills says ranking could empower voters. But she expresses fiscal and logistical concerns.

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