Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Maine Ranked Choice Voting Presidential Primary Bill Revived in Special Session

The Maine legislature convened a brief special session on Monday, August 26 and raised the ranked choice voting presidential primary bill that had carried over from the earlier regular session.

The bill -- LD 1083 -- had become a casualty of the final day of the legislature in June, failing to get one final enacting vote passed in the state Senate. That vote came on Monday and passed along party lines with just one majority party Democrat voting with dissenting Republicans.

Final enacting vote behind it, the bill now moves to Governor Janet Mills (D) for her consideration. She previously in the summer signed legislation into law reestablishing a presidential primary in the Pine Tree state and scheduling it for Super Tuesday.

Just last week, the Democratic Party Rules and Bylaws Committee raised the topic of ranked choice voting in presidential primaries during the DNC summer meeting in San Francisco. And while Maine was cited as a potential ranked choice voting state in the process, the RBC punted on issuing any guidance until any changes were final in state law and state party delegate selection plans had been revised and resubmitted.

There are some questions as to how the process would work in Maine in a presidential nomination context. Unlike in New Hampshire, where ranked choice voting in presidential primaries legislation failed earlier this year, the Maine legislation is less forthcoming about the mechanics of the process. Whereas the proposed New Hampshire system would have shifted the reallocation line to a 15 percent threshold (as opposed to reallocating until one winner is determined), the Maine system does not specifically lay out any instructions over than it should follow the same procedure as any other ranked choice system. That would mean narrowing the list down to one winner.

However, what the bill does do is leave up to the discretion of the state parties the process of delegate allocation and selection. And the standard Democratic threshold of 15 percent remains the mandate from the national party. The Maine Democratic Party delegate selection plan already received a conditional compliance grade from the RBC during its July 30 meeting. Should the ranked choice voting bill be signed into law, though, the plan would have to be revised.

Tip of the cap to @khfan93 for the heads up about the Press-Herald story on the bill's passage cited above.

1/18/19: Maine Lost its Presidential Primary

2/1/19: Maine Decision to Re-Establish a Presidential Primary Option for 2020 Hinges on Money

2/9/19: Maine Committee Hearing Highlights Familiar Divisions in Caucus to Primary Shifts

3/16/19: Alternative Bill Would Reestablish a Presidential Primary in Maine but with Ranked Choice Voting

3/22/19: Maine Committee Hearing Finds Support for and Roadblocks to a Ranked Choice Presidential Primary

3/30/19: Maine Democrats Signal Caucuses in Draft Delegate Selection Plan, but...

4/23/19: New Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill Introduced in Maine

5/10/19: Maine Committee Working Session Offers Little Clarity on 2020 Presidential Primary

6/3/19: Maine Senate Advances Super Tuesday Primary Bill

6/4/19: On to the Governor: Maine House Passes Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Bill

6/19/19: Fate of a Reestablished Presidential Primary in Maine Not Clear Entering Final Legislative Day

6/20/19: Governor Mills' Signature Sets Maine Presidential Primary for Super Tuesday

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