To the Editor:
Last Thursday, the Maine Senate voted in favor of solemn occasion on Maine’s ranked-choice voting law. This unprecedented request seeks to draw the Maine Supreme Judicial Court into a political debate that was settled by a vote of the people last November.
There is nothing in the Maine Constitution that limits or restricts us to a particular voting method. Every single time that ranked-choice voting has been challenged, courts have found that it is fully constitutional. It upholds one person, one vote; it ensures that the candidate with the most votes wins; and it gives voters more voice and more choice in elections.
On Nov. 8, 2016, Maine voters exercised their constitutional right to reform, alter and totally change the way they elect their leaders by approving Question 5, “An Act to Establish Ranked Choice Voting,” with the second largest vote of the people in Maine’s history. The law took effect on Jan. 7.
According to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in an earlier opinion, “No solemn occasion exists when the justices are asked to give their opinions on the law which is already in effect.”
According to former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Kilbreth, requesting a solemn occasion on existing Maine law is unheard of. The court has never before been willing to answer these kinds of questions through the mechanism of a solemn occasion.
The 400,000 supporters of ranked-choice-voting in Maine will do everything in their power to defend this law and their constitutional right to direct democracy.