Through referendum, Maine voters instituted an “instant run-off” process to ensure political party nominees obtain a majority vote, but the new program’s first test has been anything but “instant.” On June 12th, Democratic primary voters cast 33% of their gubernatorial ballots for appointed Attorney General Janet Mills, but she did not yet win. Businessman and Iraq War veteran Adam Cote is second with 29% support, while lobbyist Betsy Sweet scored 16%. Former state House Speaker Mark Eves was next at 14%, followed by state Sen. Mark Dion (D-Portland), 4%, former Portland state Rep. Diane Russell at 2%, and ex-Biddeford Mayor Donna Dion posting 1%. The succeeding candidates are important because their supporters are key to who eventually is declared the party nominee.
In a long counting process that began after the election and found irregularities in five towns, the Secretary of State’s office is now completing the ranked vote tabulation. When a person now votes in Maine, they are asked to rank the candidates by level of support from 2nd through 8th, in this case. Now, the last place finisher, Ms. Dion, is dropped and her first place ballots are found and those ranked choices then dispersed to the other seven. If all are still below 50% support, Ms. Russell would be eliminated and her ranked votes dispersed, and so on until one of the candidates captures a majority.
The laborious process may finally end as early as today, with the winner earning the right to challenge businessman Shawn Moody who won the Republican nomination outright. The final tabulation will be of interest to political observers who want to examine the instant run-off system in actual practice.
The Rundown Blog
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