Wednesday, April 4, 2018

ME Judge Orders State to Use RCV for June Primaries

A Judge ordered Wednesday, Maine's Secretary of State’s Office to move forward with Implementing Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) for the June Primaries despite concerns about Conflicting Language in State Law.

Meanwhile, an Attorney representing the Maine Senate filed a New Complaint asking the Court to Prohibit Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap from going forward without Funding for the New Voting system in place.

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy agreed with Advocates for RCV that Uncertainty over the Election Process could cause “irreparable harm” at this stage.

As a result, Murphy agreed to the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting’s Appeal to Dunlap to continue Preparing to use RCV for Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Legislative Primaries on June 12th.

“The uncertainty that halting the ranked-choice voting implementation process at this late date is significant,” Murphy wrote in her Opinion, which was dated Tuesday but did not become Public until Wednesday. “Clarity, stability and public confidence are essential to ensure the legitimacy of Maine elections.”

Dunlap had said last week that his Office would continue working to Implement RCV while seeking clarity on the issue from the Legislature and Courts.

Voters Approved switching to a RCV system in a November 2016 Ballot Initiative only to see the Legislature Vote last year to Delay Implementation amid concerns.

Last week, Dunlap cast doubt on Maine’s Plans by pointing to the Discovery of Conflicting Language in the Existing Law dealing with whether Candidates are Elected by a Plurality of Majority of Votes. The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting quickly Filed a Complaint seeking a Court Injunction Order requiring Dunlap to move forward with implementing the Law.

Murphy’s ruling means that Maine will be the first State in the Nation to use RCV during Statewide Elections this June. At the same time, Maine Voters will also be Casting Ballots about whether to continue using RCV in future Elections. That’s because the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting collected enough Petition Signatures for a “People’s Veto” of a Bill Passed by the Legislature last year that Delayed and potentially Repealed the Switch to a New System.

House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said Murphy’s Ruling represented the Will of the Voters. “Mainers have said clearly that they want election reform and they want it now,” Gideon said in a prepared Statement. “It is now the duty of the entire Legislature to appropriate the funds required for the Secretary of State to run our election.”

In the New Complaint filed Wednesday on Behalf of the Senate, Attorney Timothy Woodcock laid out several Concerns. Among other Issues, he asks the Court to recognize the Separation of Powers between the Branches of Government. He also argues that Dunlap lacks the Constitutional Authority to spend Funds that have not been Appropriated for a RCV Election.

Woodcock also ask the Court to find the Law in question “lacks sufficient standards to constitute a valid delegation of lawmaking and rulemaking authority by the Legislative department to the Secretary of State for the development, implementation and administration of Ranked-Choice voting in the June 12, 2018 primary elections.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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