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Mainers weigh-in on using ranked-choice voting

Voting (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Ranked-choice voting made its statewide debut in Tuesday’s primary elections. Maine will become the first state to adopt the voting method for a statewide election.

Instead of selecting just one candidate, voters rank their choices by preference, first, second, third and so on.

If no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote the first time, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.

That eliminated candidate's second-choice votes are then awarded to the remaining contenders.

This process goes on until someone gets more than 50 percent of the vote and is declared the winner.

Most polling locations have video instructions to explain how votes will be tallied using ranked-choice voting.

“They give you the ballot with the instructions right on the side. I found it to be really easy,” Lindsay Waller, voter, said. “After the 2016 election it really felt that there was a real need for that. The voter seemed to have more of an input of who they're getting to have elected.”

In Augusta, some voters have looked forward to ranked-choice voting, while others say they're shaky on the new system.

“Not bad, but personally I think one candidate but I did take a second choice too,” Donald E. Daniel, voter, said.

Question 1 is also on the ballot, which focuses on the future of ranked-choice voting and whether citizens want to keep it or remove it.

“There is really no need to delay it, I feel. It's important to get this legislation through, keep it going, and really facilitate the people's ability to actively participate in our government,” Waller said.

“If you get some good candidates you’re fine, but that could turn into something corrupt, that's the part I don't like,” Daniel said.

Some Mainers believe, if the people voted for it, why not give it a try.

“I think the population should give it a chance to work and if it does, we'll keep it. If not, we'll do away with it,” Blackey Bichard, voter, said.

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