Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Maine GOP challenges expansion of ranked-choice voting

Maine voters

Sen. Susan Collins, whose Portland office was overrun by Maine voters during the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings (above), will still compete in a ranked-choice election even if the state GOP blocks its use in the presidential voting.

Sarah Rice/Getty Images

Maine, one of the birthplaces of the ranked-choice voting movement, is facing pushback from Republicans who don't want it in the fall presidential election.

Earlier this month the state Republican Party filed paperwork proposing a referendum in November on repealing a law, enacted less than a year ago, allowing Mainers to be the country's only 2020 voters who list their presidential choices in order of preference — with third-party candidate support in all likelihood redistributed to the major party nominees.

Simply gathering the required 63,000 signatures in the next three months would halt the use of so-called RCV on the presidential line in November — which would represent a major setback for an alternative voting system that's been gaining significant national acceptance in recent years.


In 2016, Maine voters approved a referendum adopting ranked voting for all state and federal primary elections and general elections for Congress. Voters overturned a legislative repeal in 2018. Last year, the Legislature extended the system to apply to the presidential election this fall and to the presidential primaries in four years.

Eighteen cities have adopted RCV and additional communities — most notably New York City — will come on board in the near future.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Early voters in the Nevada Democratic presidential caucuses this week are using ranked-choice voting in a limited form. And four other states — Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming and Kansas — will use it to allocate delegates in their Democratic primaries in April and May.

Advocates of ranked-choice voting say it provides a truer representation of voters' wishes and reduces attacks by candidates on each other. That's because candidates will not want to alienate voters who may support another person. Opponents argue the system confuses voters and strays from fundamental tenets of American democracy.

"One person, one vote is a bedrock American principle," said Demi Kouzounas, chairwoman of the Maine GOP. "Ranked-choice voting is a direct violation of that principle and threatens the rights of all Mainers and delegitimatizes our election process."

Kathleen Marra, chairwoman of the Maine Democratic Party, responded by saying "this new attempt is nothing more than an effort to protect President Trump and reject the will of the voters."

Getting the referendum on the ballot would not interrupt the use of RCV in down-ballot contests. Maine is hosting one of the hottest Senate races in the country, with incumbent Republican Susan Collins facing Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon and a handful of minor candidates. Democrat Jared Golden, who won an upset election to the House two years ago with the benefit of an RCV surge when first-round ballots were redistributed, is being challenged intensely in his re-election bid.

Maine has voted Democratic in seven straight presidential contests, but in 2016 Donald Trump was able to secure one of its four electoral votes. Maine and Nebraska are the only two states where those votes are not awarded winner take all.

Read More

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Voters should be able to take the measure of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., since he is poised to win millions of votes in November.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

Kennedy should have been in the debate – and states need ranked voting

Richie is co-founder and senior advisor of FairVote.

CNN’s presidential debate coincided with a fresh batch of swing-state snapshots that make one thing perfectly clear: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may be a longshot to be our 47th president and faces his own controversies, yet the 10 percent he’s often achieving in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and other battlegrounds could easily tilt the presidency.

Why did CNN keep him out with impossible-to-meet requirements? The performances, mistruths and misstatements by Joe Biden and Donald Trump would have shocked Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, who managed to debate seven times without any discussion of golf handicaps — a subject better fit for a “Grumpy Old Men” outtake than one of the year’s two scheduled debates.

Keep ReadingShow less
I Voted stickers

Veterans for All Voters advocates for election reforms that enable more people to participate in primaries.

BackyardProduction/Getty Images

Veterans are working to make democracy more representative

Proctor, a Navy veteran, is a volunteer with Veterans for All Voters.

Imagine this: A general election with no negative campaigning and four or five viable candidates (regardless of party affiliation) competing based on their own personal ideas and actions — not simply their level of obstruction or how well they demonize their opponents. In this reformed election process, the candidate with the best ideas and the broadest appeal will win. The result: The exhausted majority will finally be well-represented again.

Keep ReadingShow less
Person voting at a dropbox in Washington, D.C.

A bill moving through Congress would only allow U.S. citizens to vote in D.C. municipal eletions.

Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The battle over noncitizen voting in America's capital

Rogers is the “data wrangler” at BillTrack50. He previously worked on policy in several government departments.

Should you be allowed to vote if you aren’t an American citizen? Or according to the adage ‘No taxation without representation’, if you pay taxes should you get to choose the representatives who help spend those tax dollars? Those questions are at the heart of the debate over a bill to restrict voting to U.S. citizens.

Keep ReadingShow less
people walking through a polling place

Election workers monitor a little-used polling place in Sandy Springs, Ga., during the state's 2022 primary.

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What November election? Half of the U.S. House is already decided.

Troiano is the executive director ofUnite America, a philanthropic venture fund that invests in nonpartisan election reform to foster a more representative and functional government. He’s also the author of “The Primary Solution.”

Last month, Americans were treated to an embarrassing spectacle: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) tradingpersonal insults related to “fake eyelashes” and a “bleach blonde bad built butch body” during a late-night committee hearing. Some likened it to Bravo’s “Real Housewives” reality TV series, and wondered how it was possible that elected officials could act that way and still be elected to Congress by the voters.

The truth is, the vast majority of us don’t actually elect our House members — not even close. Less than 10 percent of voters in Crockett’s district participated in her 2024 Democratic primary, which all but guaranteed her re-election in the safe blue district. Greene ran unopposed in her GOP primary — meaning she was re-elected without needing to win a single vote. The nearly 600,000 voters in her overwhelmingly red district were denied any meaningful choice. Both contests were decided well before most voters participate in the general election.

Keep ReadingShow less
USA map with flags
FotografiaBasica/Getty Images

Eight needed steps to save democracy and our future

Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and the founder and executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute.

Democracies in decline rarely come to an abrupt end. They usually unravel — slowly and subtly — over a period of time; the rot slowly reveals itself until the endgame becomes obvious. Threats to democracy are now out in the open and very real, but there are some steps we can take to help preserve governance by informed people who are concerned about our children and the Earth we leave behind.

Keep ReadingShow less