Winter Speaker Series


Ranked Choice Voting

Finn Melanson
League of Women Voters of Maine
October 12, 2016 - 7:30pm
Curtis Library, Brunswick

Finn received a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May of 2014 with a specific concentration in voting systems and their impacts on voter behavior. Since the fall of 2014, he has been involved in the voter education movement around ranked choice voting. The bulk of this work has been done under the banner of the League of Women Voters of Maine and the presentations have taken Finn across the state to high school social studies classrooms, senior centers, chambers of commerce, American Legions, Lions clubs, Kiwanis clubs and other organizations.

On November 8th, Maine voters will head to the polls to weigh in on a number of referendum questions, including Question 5 which will ask voters whether to replace our current voting system with ranked choice voting for federal and state primary and general elections beginning in 2018.

Ranked choice voting lets voters rank their choices based on individual preference. First choices are counted, and if no candidate has a majority of the vote, an "instant runoff" occurs in which the candidate with the least support is eliminated. Voters that picked the eliminated candidate as their first choice have their vote counted for their next choice. In a three-person race, we now have a winner with majority support in the final round of tabulation. In a race with more than three candidates, this process is repeated until one candidate has a majority. Read more about it
in RCV Basics.

Ranked Choice Voting will appear as Question 5 on the ballot in November 2016. Vote Yes on Question 5 to approve RCV for Maine.

The wording of the question as it will appear on the ballot is as follows:

Do you want to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representative, and to have ballots counted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority?

Call Kathleen McGee, 666-3598


Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler