Senate President Requests Attorney General Opinion on Ranked Choice

Voting

Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) has submitted a letter to Attorney

General Janet Mills, seeking her guidance on LD 1557, “An Act to Establish Ranked-

Choice Voting.” The legislation, which came to the Legislature via a citizen’s ballot

initiative, has been tabled in the Maine Senate due to constitutional concerns.

The bill, if passed by the Legislature or approved by voters in the November election,

would establish in Maine a process “in which voters rank candidates in order of

preference, tabulation proceeds in sequential rounds in which last-place candidates are

defeated and the candidate with the most votes in the final round is elected.”

Senate President Thibodeau decided to consult the attorney general after questions were

raised about whether such a voting system would be consistent with the Maine

Constitution which states a Maine governor can be elected with a plurality and not

necessarily a majority. Under the ranked-choice system, a majority would ultimately be

needed in order to be elected.

“Last week it became clear to me that we need a legal opinion on this,” said Thibodeau.

“Whether you think ranked-choice voting is a good or bad idea is beside the point. Before

we proceed in the Legislature with this bill, we need clarity on this issue and that is what

I expect the attorney general will provide.”

Maine Legislature Honorary Page Program

Do you know a student who is interested in learning more about Maine’s Legislature? If

so, they might want to serve as an honorary page in the Maine Senate during the 2016

legislative session.

As an honorary page, students take part in the legislative session by distributing

documents and assisting legislators on the floor of the Senate.

Parents or teachers can call the Maine Senate Majority Office at (207) 287-1505 to sign

up a student or group of students. Please have the name, grade, hometown, and school

name ready for each student. In addition, please also have in mind a few different dates

that would work well. For February, the Senate will largely be in session only on

Tuesdays and Thursdays with more days of the week added in March and April.


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