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On June 12th, Maine voters will make history by holding the nation’s first statewide primary election through Ranked Choice Voting.

It’s a new system with a new ballot---so let’s talk about what it means for Maine, how you vote, and what the ballot will look like.

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Traditionally, voters select only one candidate. With Ranked Choice Voting, we can rank all the candidates in order of preference (first choice, second choice, third choice, etc). You can rank all the candidates or just some of them. The first candidate to receive more than 50% of the vote is the winner (more about that later).

What’s the ballot look like?

Remember standardized tests? It’s similar. You fill in the bubble in each column to match up with the candidate of your choice.

This is the sample ballot from the Secretary of State’s office we edited to offer Ranked Choice Voting for Birth Control Methods.

You can see the real sample ballots from the Secretary of State’s office here, as well as an explainer video, examples of how to vote, and more!

How are the votes counted?

First, all the first-choice votes are counted. If no one has received more than 50% of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Everyone who voted for the eliminated candidate then has their second-choice votes counted. The process continues until a candidate wins more than 50% of the votes.

I think I get it---can we test it?

Absolutely! We asked some of our coworkers to rank choice vote for some of the birth control methods. To simplify, we didn’t include all the methods available. [Note: neither Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund nor Planned Parenthood of Northern New England supports one birth control method over any other. This is a highly unscientific, just-for-fun poll]

Here’s what the ballot looked like:


 

1st choice

2nd choice

3rd choice

4th choice

The Pill

       

Patch or ring

       

IUD

       

Implant or shot

       


And after the first round of voting these were the results:

 

Percentage

The Pill

30%

Patch or ring

20%

IUD

40%

Implant or shot

10%

The IUD has received the most votes, but not a majority, so we go to round two. Since Implant or shot received the fewest votes, we look at the second-choice votes for those ballots and add them to the remaining three options.

Here are the results after round two:

 

Percentage

The Pill

30%

Patch or ring

25%

IUD

45%

The IUD is still in the lead, but still does not have a majority of votes. So now we discard the Patch or ring votes and go to their second choice.

Round three results:

 

Percentage

The Pill

45%

IUD

55%

And now we have a winner! The IUD has received more than 50% of the votes and is the winner in our unscientific, just-for-fun ranked choice vote!

What else should I know about voting on June 12th?

Maine has same-day voter registration, so you can register June 12th at your polling place. If you have moved, you should bring your ID or a piece of mail with your new voting address.

We invited all the candidates running for governor in primary elections to tour the Portland Health Center, meet with Planned Parenthood supporters, and record a message to our supporters. Six accepted. You can see their videos here.

There's more info on our elections page about the candidates and their positions on reproductive health issues.

And most importantly, have fun voting!

Tags: RankedChoiceVoting

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