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Governor, Secretary of State clash over ranked-choice voting

Governor Paul LePage has been one of the most vocal opponents of ranked-choice voting in Maine. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) – Governor Paul LePage has been one of the most vocal opponents of ranked-choice voting in Maine.

Tuesday, he said he probably won't certify the election results, but in Augusta, the secretary of state says that doesn't even matter.

Maine is making history Tuesday as the first state in the nation to use ranked-choice voting for a statewide election.

At the same time, voters are deciding about the future of that voting method, where you rank candidates by preference and the candidate with a majority will win.

That's different from traditional voting, where you only vote for one candidate and the candidate only needs a plurality, or the most votes, to win, not a majority.

Last month, Governor LePage said he wouldn't certify the ranked-choice voting results. He repeated that Tuesday, but Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says by law, the governor only needs to certify general election results, not primaries, like what's happening Tuesday.

“I will only certify to plurality,” LePage said. “If it's not plurality, then there will not be an election in June. It will have to be decided by this judge."

“We've been scrambling around today to assure people that, ‘Yes, your vote will count, it does matter if you show up and vote in the election,’ regardless of, the governor can't stand in the way of the election, he can't say 'You might as will not have an election because I'm not gonna certify the results,' that's just not the case here,” Dunlap said.

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