The Star-Herald

Ask legislators to carry out will of people over ranked-choice voting

To the editor:

Instead of fixing constitutional and statutory problems, state Senate opponents of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) complicated the implementation further. Finding problems they say interfere with interests and integrity of the Senate and with the constitutional Separation of Powers, the Senate passed an order on April 2 that allows Senate President Mike Thibodeau to “take all appropriate action . . .  and to seek all appropriate manner of relief, including but not limited to seeking injunctive relief against any state official . . . seeking to exercise powers relegated to the legislative power of Maine not duly and properly extended to such official . . . .”

The unnamed state official referred to in this order is Matthew Dunlap, the Secretary of State who is charged in the RCV law to “to adopt routine technical rules for the administration of ranked-choice voting, including the administration of recounts.”

In the debate, Senators opposed to this order pointed out that the order gave unprecedented and unlimited power to the Senate president to take action for only the fraction of the Senate proponents of the order. They further argued that the order does not represent the full Legislature, and that there are legitimate ways for the Legislature to fix all constitutional and statutory problems.

Late on Tuesday, April 3, “the Senate filed a temporary restraining order . . . . Its concerns include whether current funding can be used to implement ranked-choice voting and whether the secretary of state has the authority to order the Department of Public Safety to transport ballots from municipalities to Augusta for counting.”

On Wednesday, April 4, a Superior Court Judge in an RCV suit ruled that the SOS should go forward with implementing the law. Later that same day, using authority granted by the Senate order on Monday, Senate opponents of RCV argued before the same judge for the restraining order.  At the time of this writing, the judge has not ruled on this, but commentators expect it to go before the State Supreme Court.

Constitutionally, the will of the people on RCV on 2 separate occasions is clear and undisputed even if the wording of it is not. The Legislature has a duty to carry out that will by whatever means necessary. Please remind your legislators to do so.  

Alice Bolstridge
Presque Isle

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