December 18, 2017
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LePage lets bill that would kill ranked-choice voting in 2021 become law

By Mal Leary, Maine Public
Don Eno | SJVT/FhF | BDN
Don Eno | SJVT/FhF | BDN
Maine Gov. Paul LePage answers a question Friday during a meeting with loggers and contractors in New Canada that was hosted by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash.

Gov. Paul LePage says he will allow a bill that delays implementation of ranked-choice voting to become law without his signature.

“I encourage the people who want to have a people’s veto to bring it in. The Supreme Court has already said it is unconstitutional, so let the courts decide,” he said.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting have vowed to use the people’s veto provision of the Maine Constitution to force a referendum vote on legislation approved by lawmakers last month. Lawmakers delayed implementation until 2021 to give them time to address constitutional problems raised by the Maine Supreme Court.

[Maine lawmakers tuck ‘poison pill’ into ranked-choice voting bill]

If the law is not amended by the deadline, ranked-choice voting would be repealed.

LePage told Maine Public Radio he believes that if state courts don’t strike down the law, federal courts will.

“If the state of Maine doesn’t kill it, I’m sure because it has the federal officials in it, the First Circuit will, the federal courts will say it is just clearly unconstitutional on many grounds,” he said.

By taking the full 10 days he has to consider the bill, LePage has now made it difficult for the Secretary of State’s office to finalize petitions ranked-choice voting supporters need to launch a people’s veto. They were hoping to begin circulating them on Election Day, Tuesday.

This report appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

 


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