Maine tries ranked-choice voting in primary - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Maine tries ranked-choice voting in primary

The state will use the so-called ranked-choice voting for the first time in four races, including both parties' gubernatorial primaries. (Source: WMTW/CNN) The state will use the so-called ranked-choice voting for the first time in four races, including both parties' gubernatorial primaries. (Source: WMTW/CNN)

PORTLAND, ME (WMTW/CNN) - Tuesday's primaries in Maine will be a groundbreaking experiment in democracy.

The state will use the so-called ranked-choice voting for the first time in four races, including both parties' gubernatorial primaries.

That means if no candidate wins an outright majority, the voters' second choices begin to count.

Some candidates said the system brings more civility to politics.

It's an uncommon sight on the eve of a primary - two opponents were voicing support for one another and the system that inspired them to do so.

"If somebody tells me I'm not their first choice, then I hope that I can be their second choice and it is a very unique way of campaigning," said Mark Eves, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate:

Eves and Betsy Sweet have been campaigning together

"I think people are starting to catch on, and I think Mark and I campaigning together is helps with that." Sweet said.

Each candidate is hoping to gather the others' supporters, if the other comes in last in the initial count.

"It leads to more civility and more unity as a whole, and that's what we need right now," said state rep. Seth Berry, who proposed the system in 2006.

"If I like a candidate, but maybe they're not my first choice, then I can consider them and have a real conversation with them," he said.

But for many voters, it's not so clear-cut.

"I wish I had looked into it further because I know the vote is tomorrow," one voter said.

Ranked-choice voting will also be the subject of ballot question No. 1.

But candidates are encouraging voters to ignore the complex language, reminding them "yes" means you support ranked-choice voting, "no" means you don't.

But for some, confusion adds to the concerns.

"I'm concerned about it doing away with the one man, one vote principal," one voter said. "My first instinct is to go in and vote only for the person that I want to."

It’s a sentiment the Maine GOP has been pushing strongly since the measure first passed in 2016.

Jason Savage shared those concerns.

"RCV has already been proven to violate the Maine constitution. It violates one person-one vote, and it only gets us to the majority that was promised to us by supporters - by creating a new fake majority throwing a bunch of ballots out," he said.

But like it or not, the nation will be watching Maine on Tuesday.

"The proof will be in the putting on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, whenever we know, if people are ready for this kind of a change," Sweet said.

Ranked-choice voting is already used to determine Oscars winners. Voters in Australia, Ireland and several American cities also use the voting method, the New York Times reported.

Copyright 2018 WMTW via CNN. All rights reserved. Raycom News Network contributed to this report.

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