Federal Court Upholds Election System in Maine


PORTLAND, ME – Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine ruled that the results of the State of Maine’ general election for U.S. Congress on Nov. 6, 2018 held using its democratically-enacted ranked choice voting system will stand, sending a strong message that the system is constitutional.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the First Amendment rights of Maine voters, who chose this system as the best way to express their choice for federal office in November,” said Mark Gaber, senior legal counsel, litigation, at Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “The court’s well-reasoned decision gives voters the chance to express preferences for more than a single candidate, which enhances voter choice. The Court recognized that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution specifically empowered states to determine the procedures for electing members of Congress,  and upheld the right of Maine voters to use the election system of their choice.”

Ranked choice voting fosters more choice, more competition, and incentivizes candidates to engage with a broad coalition of voters in order to win the support of a wider range of the electorate. On Nov. 28, 2018, CLC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine in support of Maine’s system of ranked choice voting. The case, called Baber v. Dunlap, was heard on Dec. 5, 2018.

CLC published an issue brief on the eight ways adopting ranked choice voting can improve voting and elections.