Success at Maine Supreme Judicial Court: Ranked-Choice Voting Law Unconstitutional

Pierce Atwood successfully represented the Maine House Republicans and the Maine Heritage Policy Center before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court regarding the validity of Maine’s ranked-choice voting law. In a first-in-the nation ruling, the SJC unanimously agreed with our argument that the ranked-choice voting law was unconstitutional because it violated the Maine Constitution’s plurality vote requirement. The ruling has national implications for proposed ranked choice voting laws in states that have similar constitutional provisions.  

In November 2016, Mainers approved a ballot question implementing a ranked-choice voting system. Ranked-choice voting effectively implements an “instant runoff” that eliminates candidates until one receives a majority of the votes. The Ranked Choice Voting Act would apply to elections for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative, governor, state senate, and state representative. The SJC’s ruling addressed the validity of the Act as it applied to state officials.