Voting reform efforts involving ranked choice voting (RCV) have stalled in Maine and Canada.
In November of last year Maine voters passed an historic initiative to use RCV in elections for federal and state offices. Recently the President of the Maine Senate persuaded the body to request the state Supreme Court for an opinion on the new law’s constitutionality. The Senate complied with a 24-10 vote. The court has not yet responded, leaving the measure in limbo.
At issue are two provisions in the state constitution. One would have elections won by a plurality rather than a majority as RCV requires. The other provides for votes to be counted by cities and towns, whereas implementing the RCV initiative is expected to use centralized counting by the Secretary of State.
In Canada Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has dropped plans for a referendum on voting reform which would have considered RCV or proportional representation to replace the plurality first-past-the-post system currently in use. Trudeau had pledged such a referendum while campaigning for his party last year.
An all-party parliamentary committee had issued a report in December calling for a referendum on a proportional voting system, but Liberal members of the committee refused to sign on to it. The Liberal government cited a lack of “broad support” for a change as a reason for not going forward.
Other parties accused Trudeau of using the issue to win support in the election only to drop it once Liberals were in power. Click here for more information.
Meanwhile in Oregon backers of the successful initiative to use RCV in elections for Benton County commissioners were seeking funding to implement the new law. The initiative specifically stated that the county would not be required to implement the new voting system until outside funding was secured.