Tuesday’s election will make history, as Maine voters use ranked-choice voting to select the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor.
Maine voters will also decide the future of ranked-choice voting with the second referendum question on the issue in three years.
While independent voters cannot vote in the party primaries, they can vote in the referendum.
The use of this new method will affect how we report election results.
After some initial confusion about whether we would receive any results at all on election night, we now know from the Maine Department of the Secretary of State that we will receive first-place votes for the gubernatorial primaries.
If one candidate does not achieve a majority – 50 percent plus one – in the first round, the ranked-choice or “instant runoff” process will begin.
This seems a likely outcome in primaries with seven candidates on the Democratic side and four on the Republican side.
If this retabulation process begins, we do not know when we will have final results of the election.
We will report the first-place results for the gubernatorial primaries in next week’s newspaper. The chart of results will contain a disclaimer that says it includes first-place votes only – not final results.
When the state completes the ranked-choice count, we will report the final results.
We encourage everyone to vote Tuesday, regardless of their feelings about ranked-choice voting.
These gubernatorial primaries will go a long way to determine what Maine politics look like in the post-LePage era, although we have a long and unpredictable general-election campaign ahead, with multiple independent candidates to make things interesting.
Equal or even higher in importance for local impact are the many municipal elections and referendum issues before voters Tuesday. Check this edition for information on all the candidates and issues.