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Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 28, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, June 28, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, June 28, 2018
Ranked-choice voting results come in
Mills wins Democratic nod for governor’s race

by Faith DeAmbrose

Janet Mills will face Shawn Moody in the November race for the state’s governorship.

Mills, a Democrat and currently the state’s attorney general, garnered 54 percent after four run-off rounds of voting. Adam Cote came in second place with 46 percent, narrowing down a field that began with seven candidates. Moody, the Republican party’s candidate, won the primary with 56 percent of the vote, thereby bypassing further voting.

In the Democratic race for Congressional District 2, ranked-choice voting affirmed the lead Jared Golden had over Lucas St. Clair heading into the run-off. After two rounds of tabulations, Golden ended up with 54 percent of the vote to St. Clair’s 46 percent.

Golden will take on Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin in the general election in November.

Voters statewide also affirmed their desire to continue with ranked-choice voting, a measure that was first approved by voters in 2016. With RCV, in races with three or more candidates voters can rank their choices from first to last. If a candidate does not win with an outright majority of at least 50 percent, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and additional rounds of voting reallocate votes until a winner is determined.

The debate over RCV has been mired in legal challenges and by a legislature that has sought to delay it until 2021. Proponents of the voting system launched a citizens’ veto to defeat the measure aimed at delaying its use. The measure passed on June 12 with 54 percent of the vote, a number that was even larger than the 52 percent of votes it received in 2016 when it was first adopted.

The taxpayer cost to implement ranked-choice voting is approximately $360,000, an increase of about $111,000 over years past where primary elections typically ran about $250,000, according to the Maine Department of Secretary of State.