Showing posts with label ranked choice voting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ranked choice voting. Show all posts

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.


--
Related:
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


Follow FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Fate of a Reestablished Presidential Primary in Maine Not Clear Entering Final Legislative Day

Wednesday, June 19 represents the statutorily mandated end of the 2019 legislative session in Maine. And among the unfinished or unresolved business of the body are two bills reestablishing a presidential primary in the Pine Tree state.

LD 1626 would reestablish the presidential primary and schedule it for Super Tuesday, the first Tuesday in March. And while that bill passed the Senate (on June 3) and was both passed (on June 4) and enacted (on June 5) by the House, there is another step to the legislative process in Maine. Any bills that affect revenues or expenditures by the state government -- as the presidential primary bill would -- are placed on the Special Appropriations Table in the state Senate at the request of a member of the Appropriations Committee. In this case, Sen. Linda Sanborn (D, 30th, Gorham) made that request and the bill has sat on the table since June 6. Generally, those bills that affect the Maine general fund are kept on the table until after the budget bill has been negotiated, passed, signed and enacted. That budget bill, LD 1001, became law on the Governor Mills' signature on Monday, June 17.

Tuesday passed with no action on the Super Tuesday bill, but it may see the light of day again in a final flurry of activity as the session draws closer to adjournment.

Meanwhile, the ranked choice voting presidential primary bill that was tabled in committee back at the beginning of May was resurrected on June 4. That work session of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee produced another divided report with committee Republicans against and Democrats split on how to proceed. The minority report amendment stripped out the presidential primary language from the original LD 1083 but continued to call for the ranked choice voting election of presidential electors in the general election but that that action should be put before the voters in a referendum.

But that report was left on the sidelines when the bill came up on the floor of the state Senate on Tuesday, June 18. Instead, the Senate brought up the majority report amendment, an amendment that further muddles the treatment of any presidential primary. Like the minority report amendment, the amendment that was brought up struck the entirety of the original bill including the provisions describing the proposed presidential primary system. Importantly, the second Tuesday in March date on which any reestablish presidential primary would be scheduled was nixed.

In its place in the amended version the Senate considered was the reestablishment of a presidential primary, but only to an extent. Under the new guidelines that were passed 20-14 on a party line vote similar to LD 1626 was a certain deference to the political parties in Maine. There can be a presidential primary, but it must be in "accordance with any reasonable procedures established at the state party convention." The state party convention part is a bit misleading. Essentially the bill under this language is deferring to the state parties on the details of any presidential primary, date included. What is left at least a little ambiguous if not unsaid, is that the fiscal note accompanying the bill concludes there is no fiscal impact on the state government. That suggests that the funding of any presidential primary may be left up to municipalities and/or the state parties. Those two entities have typically borne the costs of caucuses in Maine. If that is intended as a reestablishment of a presidential primary in Maine, then it is presidential primary light, bordering on a party-run process, but one that calls for a ranked choice process.

And incidentally, the Maine Democratic Party draft delegate selection plan calls for caucuses (but with the caveat that primary legislation is active in the legislature).

Alternatively, rather than treating both bills separately, one could look at them in tandem. LD 1626 establishes the details of the primary -- including the date and the state expenditure from the general fund -- while LD 1083 merely layers on top of that the ranked choice element if state parties opt into the contest.

--
UPDATE (1:20pm, 6/19/19): The Senate took LD 1626 off the Special Appropriations Table and voted to concur and enact the legislation, clearing the way for the Super Tuesday primary bill to head to Governor Mills. The House has also passed LD 1083, the ranked choice voting bill largely along party lines, 86-59 with Democrats in favor. But like LD 1626, that is not the last act. The House still has to vote to enact the legislation before sending it back to the Senate for its consideration of enactment. Should those bars be cleared, the both bills would head to the governor's desk.

--
UPDATE (3:30pm, 6/19/19): The House has voted to enact LD 1083. The last step is for the state Senate to concur with that and LD 1083 will head to Governor Mills' desk along with LD 1626.

--
UPDATE (7:30am, 6/20/19): The Maine legislative session adjourned around 6:30am, failing to pass LD 1083 through the enactment stage in the state Senate. The net effect is that Maine will have a presidential primary option if LD 1626 is signed into law by Governor Mills, but it will not occur under ranked choice voting rules because LD 1083 remained tabled in the Senate. The latter will be held over into 2020 (or into any special session called in 2019).


--
Thanks to Richard Winger at Ballot Access News for passing along information on LD 1083's passage.


--
Related:
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

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


Follow FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

#InvisiblePrimary: Visible -- Ranked Choice Voting in the New Hampshire Primary?

Thoughts on some aspect of the invisible primary and links to the movements during the days that recently were...

Last week's AP story on the bill that would bring ranked choice voting to the presidential primary in New Hampshire had made its way around enough that by the weekend several folks reached out to ask FHQ how well the plan, if adopted, would jibe with the longstanding proportionality mandate layered into the DNC delegate selection rules.

And my answer at the time was that it depends.

It depends on how the system is set up in the legislation. The classic conception of ranked choice voting is of the system determining one winner. It does this by reallocating votes from the least preferred candidates until one most preferred candidate emerges. This is how the system under its maiden voyage in Maine worked during the 2018 midterm elections.

But the goal is different under the Democratic presidential nomination rules. Reallocating votes until one winner is determined would be a system set up to allocate all of the delegates to the winner in a hypothetical New Hampshire primary run like Maine's elections were last fall. Clearly that would not fly under the provisions of the Democratic proportionality mandate.

And the New Hampshire bill is crafted with this in mind. Instead of reallocating votes until one winner is determined, the proposed New Hampshire system would cut the reallocation off at 15 percent. The votes of candidates with less than 15 percent of the vote -- statewide and in the congressional districts -- would be shifted to candidates above that threshold based on the ranked preferences of voters.

That would not only seemingly be consistent with the DNC rules requiring a proportional allocation of delegates but would allow all voters to weigh in on the ultimate delegate allocation. Under the current system of delegate allocation at the state level, only votes for the candidates above the 15 percent qualifying threshold count toward the allocation of delegates.

It is not clear that this bill will either gain traction in New Hampshire or pass muster with the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. The idea of ranked choice voting never really came up in any meaningful way during the Unity Reform Commission deliberations on the 2020 rules during 2017 or when the baton was passed to the Rules and Bylaws Committee in 2018. It was, however, raised at the DNC meeting in Chicago in August 2018 that ultimately adopted the 2020 delegate selection rules. The motion to include ranked choice voting at the primary stage and at convention voting was dismissed, but not necessarily because there was no appetite for it. Rather, it late in the game to add something to the rules without the sort of consideration the rules that were changed received over a two year process.

This bill passing and being signed into law would force the RBC to weigh in on the matter, but that remains a ways and many steps in the legislative process in the Granite state away.


--
Elsewhere in the invisible primary...

1. Big donors may still largely be on the sidelines, but Harris is finding some fundraising success in her own backyard. Brown is going to have to play catch up in the #MoneyPrimary. And Hickenlooper is going to have to expand his fundraising base beyond Colorado.

2. The #StaffPrimary has picked up steam over the last week. Gillibrand has made some Iowa hires. Harris tapped a couple of big names in Iowa to be a part of her campaign in the Hawkeye state. Inslee's PAC is advertising positions that sound like they may ultimately be a part of a presidential campaign. Brown has a campaign manager-in-waiting. Delaney has added staff in New Hampshire. And Booker has lined up an experienced crew across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

3. Booker is officially in.

4. Harris' rollout has coincided with a couple of Californians bowing out of the 2020 race. LA mayor, Eric Garcetti, has done more of the typical things that prospective presidential candidates do. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has not other than going to New Hampshire and not quelling the discussions of him running. Both have now ended the discussion, and Harris is the only Golden state candidate still officially running. Swalwell may change that in the near future. #CaliforniaWinnowing

5. The #StaffPrimary is not the only component of the #InvisiblePrimary that is heating up. The first trickle of endorsements in the #EndorsementPrimary are starting to emerge. Harris has claimed a trio of House endorsements from members of the California delegation, most recently from Rep. Katie Hill and Rep. Nanette Barragan. Fresh off of his announcement, Cory Booker picked up a couple of Garden state endorsements from Senator Menendez and Governor Murphy. Meanwhile in Iowa, John Delaney has the support of a handful of rural county party chairs in the Hawkeye state. The early trend is inaction on the part of superdelegates, but the ones who are endorsing early are from the home states of the candidates who have announced. One exception is Harry Reid. His support of Warren is an endorsement without an endorsement. The only way to really test that is if Reid ends up helping some other candidate or candidates. Otherwise, he has endorsed Warren.

6. Is it Iowa or bust for Sherrod Brown?

7. Schultz passed on the Democratic nomination, but is heading to where the 2020 attention is.

8. Moulton remains mum on 2020 in New Hampshire.

9. Draft Beto hits New Hampshire as it awaits an announcement by the end of the month.

10. If the 2020 Democrats are strategically looking beyond the first few states on the primary calendar, it is not showing it in their travel itineraries. Warren is trekking to a series of states that have March 3 or earlier primary dates after her planned February 9 announcement. Gillibrand spent the last weekend in New Hampshire, and Brown was in Iowa. Harris, too, is hitting all four February states. And Booker is initially going to get to three of those four. And overall, candidates, announced or not, are visiting the Hawkeye state, and there is more to come in February.

11. Is Bill Weld going to challenge President Trump in the Republican primaries?

12. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is looking to clamp down on the Republican nomination process in 2020 to ward off challengers.

13. Amy Klobuchar is going to Iowa and is maybe up to something else this coming weekend.

14. Finally, Biden is seemingly in campaign-in-waiting mode.


Has FHQ missed something you feel should be included? Drop us a line or a comment and we'll make room for it.


Follow FHQ on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe by Email.