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The State of Reform
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Maine Gov. Janet Mills is among those being sued this week by citizens who want to block the use of ranked-choice voting in the fall election.

Ranked-choice voting in Maine faces new challenge

It turns out the battle over Maine's voting system isn't done yet.

When the Republican Party failed to turn in enough petition signatures last week to block the use of ranked-choice voting in Maine's presidential election this year, it seemed that fight was finished. But Maine, the one state that has approved RCV, is facing a new challenge.

A federal lawsuit filed this week seeks to block the use of ranked-choice voting in November, which would be another high-profile test of a system that advocates are trying to expand throughout the country. And it would play a role in the outcome of one of the most-watched Senate races in the country, featuring incumbent Republican Susan Collins.

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Revamp of San Diego elections dies despite broad reform group push

Griffiths is the editor of Independent Voter News, where a version of this story first appeared.

An election overhaul in the nation's eight largest city, designed to expand voters' viable choices and minimize polarization, has been killed by the San Diego City Council.

A broad coalition of democracy reform advocacy groups had made it a top priority to get a referendum revamping the municipal voting process on the November ballot, viewing the city as receptive to the plan. But the proposal was blocked Tuesday by the council on a 5-4 vote.

If adopted, San Diego would have replaced traditional partisan primaries for each office with a single contest open to all candidates, with the top four finishers advancing to a November election decided by ranked-choice voting.

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Maine is at the forefront of efforts to make ranked voting the national norm. The GOP is fighting that.

Debut of ranked voting for president survives in Maine

Maine will be the first state to use ranked-choice voting in a presidential election, because the Republican Party's attempt to block the alternative voting method has failed.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced Wednesday that a petition drive to block the use of RCV for president this fall had come up 2,000 signatures short of the 63,000 ultimately required.

That amounts to a significant symbolic victory for those who view ranking elections as one of the best ways to bolster democracy, because the system tends to reduce partisan polarization and reward centrist candidates. Mainers have been in the vanguard of the effort to expand use of RCV, adopting it for virtually all contests four years ago and implementing it statewide in 2018, despite a handful of legal and legislative challenges.

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State by state, electoral reform is happening — but not fast enough

Fisher is deputy director of Unite America, which works to enact and helps finance political reform efforts and candidates "who put people over party." (It is a donor to The Fulcrum.)

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