The tortured path to ranked choice voting in Maine

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The State of Maine is currently engaged in a ranked choice voting (RCV) experiment for state and federal legislative offices and for the governorship. Could RCV serve as a national template achieved through individual state action? RCV may eventually motivate adopting Single Transferable Vote (STV) multi-member Congressional districts, with voters using RCV to elect several Congresspersons simultaneously, thereby eliminating single member districts and gerrymandering.

Maine's[masked] governor Paul LePage, an extreme populist with polarizing rhetoric, election performance, and governance style similar to Donald Trump's, provoked Maine's RCV citizens' initiative. The parallels invite speculation about potential application on the national stage. Maine's case illustrates that political, statutory, and constitutional hurdles seriously impede effective electoral reform.

Dr. Richard Nunan is a philosophy professor at the College of Charleston with affiliated faculty status in Women's and Gender Studies, Film Studies, and the Honors College. For five years, he was editor of the American Philosophical Association's Newsletter on Philosophy and Law. He has broad interests, but, in recent years, he's primarily researched the philosophy of law, philosophy and film, and philosophical issues concerning gender rights and gender identity questions.